Franklin Co. Schools to Continue Meal Pickup Over Spring Break Week

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-Information courtesy Franklin County Schools

Franklin County Schools has staff members serving meals, planning for instruction, improving our facilities, and connecting with students and families during what has been an unprecedented time for us. At FCS, we are grateful to be working with you and our staff during this challenging time. We are all in this together.

As you may already know, Governor Cooper announced on March 23 that all public schools in North Carolina will be closed until at least May 15. We are going to adjust our spring break to March 30 – April 3rd. During this time, we will not be providing additional student work.

We will maintain meal pickup Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. during this spring break period. As a reminder, meal pickup is taking place at Laurel Mill Elementary, Franklinton Elementary, Youngsville Elementary, Louisburg High, and Bunn High each day from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This includes lunch, a snack, and breakfast items. Please keep in mind – this food is being provided to ensure that our students have meals when they are not in school. If there are additional needs for the elderly and shut-ins in our community, you are encouraged to reach out to community agencies and our churches for assistance in this area.

On Monday, April 6, we will have new student assignments available for the next two weeks. These will be provided in an online format and we will also have packets available for our students that do not have internet access. On Monday, April 6, these work packets can be picked up at any of our feeding sites for elementary and middle school students from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Just ask for the grade levels that you need. Our high school students will receive specific guidance from their individual schools on pickup instructions for April 6.

Students with internet access can find these resources on our website.

Specifics on this will be posted on our website, and we will be communicating on this via phone, email and social media as well.

We have received several questions about end-of-grade and end-of-course testing. On March 23, the NC State Board of Education voted to request a waiver of testing this year. More specifics will follow on this.

There is and will continue to be lots of information (as well as speculation) regarding this virus and the response to this virus. We are committed to communicating the most up-to-date and accurate information as it is received.

North Carolina Receives Federal Disaster Declaration for COVID-19

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-Press Release, Office of Governor Roy Cooper

The White House granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request late Wednesday for a federal disaster declaration for the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina.

The declaration provides Public Assistance to all 100 North Carolina counties, allowing local governments, state agencies and eligible non-profits to be reimbursed for costs involved in responding to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

“This is good news for cities, towns and counties that are incurring expenses as their public health providers, first responders and emergency managers work to protect communities from COVID-19,” said Governor Cooper. “We know this response will be costly and this federal assistance will help cover them.”

North Carolina is still waiting for additional assistance that Cooper requested including disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, disaster case management and other items. They remain under review and could be granted as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

“We will continue working with FEMA as they review our request for more benefits for people impacted by this pandemic,” added Cooper.

Governor Cooper has taken several actions to protect the health of North Carolinians, including ordering all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close through May 15, banning gatherings of more than 50 people, limiting bars and restaurants to only take-out or delivery service, restricting visitors to long-term care facilities, and promoting social distancing by closing businesses like movie theaters, gyms, nail salons, and several others.

For more information and additional guidance, please visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Golden LEAF Deploys $15M to NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program

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-Press Release, The Golden LEAF Foundation

The Golden LEAF Foundation announces $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program (https://ncrapidrecovery.org/) is managed by the NC Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has been supporting small business owners for more than 30 years. The Rural Center will lead a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners. Participating Rapid Recovery organizations include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Thread Capital.

“Small businesses are more than just job providers, they are pillars of our communities,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “They need our support now more than ever, and this program can help people across the state as we weather the effects of this pandemic.”

Speaker of the House Tim Moore said, “This rapid response by the Golden LEAF Foundation to support North Carolinians through the COVID-19 crisis will provide immediate financial benefit for folks who are hurting during an uncertain economic upheaval, serving as a strong example of our state activating every asset available to help families and businesses in all 100 counties through this difficult time.”

Senate Leader Phil Berger said, “This action by Golden LEAF is welcome news and much needed. Everybody — the private sector and local, state, and federal governments — will need to work toward the common goal of restarting the economic engine once this crisis passes.”

“The Golden LEAF Board of Directors is making funds available to help meet the immediate needs of businesses affected by the pandemic by building upon a model used following Hurricanes Matthew, Florence, and Dorian,” said Bo Biggs, Golden LEAF Board Chair. “This program is designed to assist businesses working to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Loan or other commercial loan but that have more immediate needs for capital.”

The federal government has made Economic Injury Loans available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) in all 100 North Carolina counties. The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program will complement the SBA by providing a bridge until businesses can access funding from the SBA.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation recognizes the critical role small-business owners play in our state’s economy,” said Scott T. Hamilton, President, Chief Executive Officer of the Golden LEAF Foundation. “The ‘LEAF’ in Golden LEAF stands for Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation. Golden LEAF cannot let this pandemic cause irreparable economic damage to our state’s small businesses.”

Small-business owners affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) can learn more about the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program and apply for a loan at https://ncrapidrecovery.org/. To speak with someone about this program or other resources available to small businesses, contact BLNC at 800.228.8443.

State Board Investigating Possible Text Messaging Scam

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-Press Release, NC State Board of Elections

The State Board of Elections is investigating a possible scam targeting North Carolinians with unsolicited text messages regarding their voter registration status or asking them to register to vote.

Recipients of the text messages should not click on the link embedded in the text and delete any such text messages from their phone.

The link sends recipients to what purports to be Vote.org’s website, but Vote.org officials confirmed Thursday that they are not sending the text messages.

The State Board is investigating and will alert state and federal authorities about the issue.

The State and County Boards of Elections have received numerous calls and emails from concerned recipients of the text messages.

“We know these texts can be confusing to voters, and we take this situation very seriously,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We urge all North Carolinians to get information about voting and voter registration from trusted, reliable sources, including your state and county boards of elections.”

Voters can check their registration status at any time using the State Board voter lookup tool here: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

If you would like to register to vote, the voter registration application can be found here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/dl.ncsbe.gov/Voter_Registration/NCVoterRegForm_06W.pdf.

For more information on voter registration in North Carolina, visit the State Board website at https://www.ncsbe.gov/Voters/Registering-to-Vote.

Vote.org also released a statement on Thursday:

“We at Vote.org take voter integrity and protection very seriously and ask that voters reach out directly to officials if they believe they have been contacted without solicitation. Text messages received in the last week were not that of Vote.org. We will continue to protect your vote, stay in communication with the North Carolina State Board of Elections and encourage voters to reference state registration websites and our official platforms at Vote.org. All communications received from Vote.org are marked as being such and can be found on official platforms.”

Bunn’s Town Hall Closed Due to Coronavirus Concerns

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-Information courtesy Town of Bunn

Due to Coronavirus concerns and the safety of all personnel, Town Hall will be closed to the public, except the Town of Bunn Police department, beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.

Utility payments can be made via the Town of Bunn Online Bill Pay (www.townofbunn.org), Telephone (919-496-2992), and Town of Bunn Drop Box (located outside the door at the Police Dept.).

Important Note: All Debit/Credit Card Fees via the telephone will be waived.

If you wish to use the drop box at Town Hall, please use an envelope with name and address with Exact Change (any amount over will be applied to the next bill) and Check or Money Order made out to the Town of Bunn.

We will continue to take residential/commercial work orders and customer concerns by phone (919) 496-2992.

Four Franklin Co. Residents Test Positive for Coronavirus

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-Press Release, Franklin County Government

As per the most recent information available, there are currently

  • 137 cases of the SARSCoV2 virus in NC
  • 0 deaths linked to SARSCoV2 in NC; Please note that given the sharp increases we anticipate, actual cases in a county may not initially register on the states websitecount for that county. https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid19casecountnc 

Positive Virus Test Results: On March 20, 2020, the Franklin County Health Department was notified that there are four (4) Franklin County residents who have received presumptive positive test results for SARSCoV2. These individuals are currently under quarantine and isolation orders and contacts with them are being notified by our FCHD Communicable Disease Staff, working in conjunction with State and Federal Health Officials.

As with all counties across North Carolina, we anticipate that case numbers will increase

Guidance for those with fever & upper respiratory symptoms: Everyone with fever and respiratory symptoms should isolate themselves until BOTH conditions below are met

  • At least 7 days since symptom onset

AND Over 72 hours after symptom resolution ( i.e. absence of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement of respiratory symptoms).

Close Contacts: Those with close contact to a person with fever or respiratory illness are encouraged to stay home to the extent possible, and to monitor themselves for symptoms

Summary: At this point, Franklin County has four (4) presumptive positive cases of SARSCoV2. The County Health Department is working in conjunction with State and Federal health officials, and local providers to ensure all possible contacts with these individuals have been notified and provided with directions regarding quarantine and isolation requirements

Recommendations

  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash your hands frequently & thoroughly using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice, or use your own tune)
  • Use hand sanitizers frequently;
  • Cough/sneeze into your arm, or if you use a tissue, immediately throw it out and wash your hands;
  • Avoid others if you’re sick;
  • Stay home from work/school if you’re sick.
  • Everyone needs to avoid vulnerable populations, including those over 65, those with underlying health conditions and/or weakened immune systems and those who are pregnant.

Not Identifying Individuals: While individuals may choose to release their own status to the community, we will continue to take the utmost care in balancing the communitys need to know with individuals’ right to privacy

Answers & Information: For uptodateaspossible coronavirus information

Franklin-County-Specific Virus Information: 

COVID19 Phone Line: 9194968113

COVID 19 Emailcoronavirus@franklincountync.us 

Franklin Co. Sheriff’s Office Adopts Additional Restrictions Effective March 23

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-Information courtesy the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

As COVID-19 continues to spread, law enforcement agencies are required to take additional steps to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus to our staff and the public. Sheriff Kent Winstead, along with his command staff, with recommendations from a variety of sources of federal, state, and local government agencies has adopted additional restrictions effective Monday, March 23, 2020.

The following restrictions are in effect until further notice or otherwise stated. We appreciate your cooperation and also the understanding of prioritizing the safety of our employees and the citizens of Franklin County.

  1. New concealed carry applications will not be accepted at this time.
  2. Concealed carry renewal applications that expire from now until June will be accepted. Any renewals for concealed carry permits that expire after June will need to apply for their renewal after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
  3. Change of address forms for concealed carry permits which the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is not the holder of will not be accepted at this time.
  4. Fingerprinting will continue to be suspended.
  5. Only two (2) persons will be permitted in the Sheriff’s Office lobby at any given time.
  6. Requests for reports will be sent via email or postal carrier. Requests for report copies can still be made by calling (919) 496-2186.
  7. Jail visitation is currently suspended.

Franklin Co. Schools: New Meal Pickup Location Starts Friday at LMES

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-Press Release, Franklin County Schools

All Franklin County Schools are closed due to the Coronavirus through at least Friday, March 27, 2020. However, we are making every effort to ensure that nutrition services are available and convenient. To fulfill this mission, FCS will add an additional meal pickup location beginning Friday, March 20 at Laurel Mill Elementary School.

Meal packages are currently available Monday through Friday for pickup between 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. FCS’ School Nutrition Department is providing free “to-go” meal packages in a drive-through format for students in need.

The meal packages include breakfast, lunch and a snack.

The meals are available at Bunn High School, Louisburg High School, Franklinton Elementary School and Youngsville Elementary School now, and additionally at Laurel Mill Elementary School beginning Friday.

Thank you and stay well!

Criteria Updated for Small Businesses Requesting Disaster Assistance Loans

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-Press Release, U.S. Small Business Administration

As part of the Trump Administration’s aggressive, whole-of-government efforts to combat the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and minimize economic disruption to the nation’s 30 million small businesses, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts:

  • Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance. Historically, the SBA has required that any state or territory impacted by disaster provide documentation certifying that at least five small businesses have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a disaster, with at least one business located in each declared county/parish. Under the just-released, revised criteria, states or territories are only required to certify that at least five small businesses within the state/territory have suffered substantial economic injury, regardless of where those businesses are located.

 

  • Expanded, Statewide Access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses. SBA disaster assistance loans are typically only available to small businesses within counties identified as disaster areas by a Governor. Under the revised criteria issued today, disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

“We’re very encouraged that banks and financial institutions are responding to the President’s efforts to mobilize an unprecedented public-private response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As a result, most small businesses that need credit during these uncertain times will be able to obtain it. However, our goal is to ensure that credit is available to any and all small businesses that need credit but are unable to access it on reasonable terms through traditional lending channels,” said Administrator Carranza.

“To that end, the SBA is relaxing the criteria through which states or territories may formally request an economic injury declaration, effective immediately. Furthermore, once an economic injury declaration has been made in a state or territory, the new rules allow the affected small businesses within the state or territory to apply for a disaster assistance loan.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to affected small businesses within the state.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.

Maria Parham Health Provides COVID-19 Policy Updates – March 17

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-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

As the situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, so does our hospital’s response. In addition to measures we’ve taken including restricting visitors, closing common areas, and adhering diligently to North Carolina State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Maria Parham Health is taking more precautionary steps to help ensure the safety of our patients, employees and visitors.

Effective immediately, we will be limiting entry points to our facility, eliminating all visitor hours and screening everyone – employees, patients and the very limited permissible visitors currently allowed – who enters the building. The following provides additional detail about these safety measures:

  • Limited Entry Points: Until otherwise notified, everyone entering the facility should come through the Main Front Hospital entrance and the Emergency Department entrance. All other entry points will be closed until further notice.
  • Zero Visitor Policy: Maria Parham Health is eliminating all visitor hours, with the exception of the following:
  • One visitor for obstetrical patients
  • Two visitors for pediatric patients
  • One caregiver if necessary, for emergency department patients
    • No other visitors will be allowed at this time without approval from Administration. This includes outpatient treatment.
  • Screening Process: All patients, visitors and staff entering the facility will be screened with questions regarding respiratory symptoms and travel history, per CDC recommendations. Patients with symptoms will immediately be provided masks and managed per CDC guidelines. Based on the screening, visitors may also be asked to take their temperature, speak further with someone, or come back at a later date. Screening will occur upon every entry.

PLEASE NOTE, WE HAVE NOT LIMITED OR RESTRICTED SERVICES AT THIS TIME.

We know that these increased precautions may seem concerning. We do not want to cause alarm, but we do want to send a clear message to our community that we are prepared, responding appropriately and remain committed to protecting the well-being of our patients, visitors, employees and community.

These increased safety measures do NOT mean that you cannot access the hospital or your providers. Please seek medical care as needed. And if you are concerned you may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, call your provider in advance of going to his or her office. Of course, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Maria Parham Health values the trust our community places in us, and we appreciate your understanding as we shift our visitation policies during this time.

For details about our COVID-19 response, please visit mariaparham.com.