Warren County Commissioners Enact a Curfew Beginning Thurs., April 9

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

At the April 6, 2020, Warren County Board of Commissioners meeting, officials unanimously voted to amend the March 15 State of Emergency declaration to include a curfew for Warren County residents, as well as the towns of Norlina and Macon, beginning Thursday, April 9 at 9 p.m.

The 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. curfew will run for the duration of Governor Cooper’s Stay At Home Executive Order 121.

“Now is not the time for us as a Warren County community to be relaxed,” stated Chairman Tare “T” Davis, leading into the board’s consideration of a curfew. “We need to come together to keep each other safe. This means we must observe the Governor’s stay at home order, and we must practice social distancing.”

On April 6, the Warren County Health Department received confirmation of the county’s third known confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in Warren County. As of April 6, the county has forty-one known residents who have been tested for COVID-19; of those forty-one tests, there have been thirty-eight known negative results.

Dr. Margaret Brake, Director of the Warren County Health Department, stated that the role of the health department in positive cases is to be involved in contact tracing for those individuals that have tested positive; health department staff is also involved in isolation and quarantine orders for those positive individuals. The health department has a responsibility for checking in with those positive persons and determining when their case has recovered and when insolation orders can be lifted.

County Manager Vincent Jones clarified that the curfew would not prevent residents from conducting essential business and making essential trips as provided for in the governor’s executive order. He also stated that surrounding counties -including Franklin and Halifax – also have the 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. curfew.

County Attorney Hassan Kingsberry stated that the guidance from the Governor’s Office for essential employees traveling after 9 p.m. and prior to 6 a.m. is to have your work identification, such as an ID badge, handy while commuting. Law enforcement will work with you as long as your reason for traveling past the curfew is related to essential business as outlined in the governor’s order.

“Now is not the time to become relaxed because the weather is changing… We have seen instances of people holding gatherings of larger than ten people – cookouts – while not observing social distancing,” stated Chairman Davis. “We understand we have major holidays coming up… this is not the time or the year for that, unfortunately. Teens are playing basketball and hanging out in groups. We have to take this seriously. Community spread is here. As a rural community with less access to medical resources, it is important that we recognize the seriousness of this pandemic. We have to do this together.”

Sheriff Johnny Williams joined the meeting via telephone and stated that the Sheriff’s Office will be working with the public to help enforce the curfew. If residents see a large gathering, they should call the 911 non-emergency line at 252-257-3456 and a deputy will respond.

The Town of Warrenton passed its own State of Emergency declaration; they will consider amending their own order should they chose to enact a curfew.

For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at 252-257-3115 or visit www.warrencountync.com. You may also call the Warren County COVID-19 Information Line at 252-257-7132.

NC Cooperative Extension to Offer Backyard Agriculture 101 Online Workshop Series

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-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, NC Cooperative Extension

Want to learn more about raising your own food, or about taking care of your small farm? NC Cooperative Extension will offer Backyard Ag 101, an eight-part online course to show you the basics.

This series is free and will be offered via the Zoom video conferencing platform. It will include topics such as vegetable gardening, managing backyard poultry, small fruit production, managing small woodlots, small-scale livestock & pasture management, landscape basics, and IPM (bugs, weeds, and plant diseases).

This is an 8-week series beginning Wednesday, April 15 and continuing each Wednesday through June 3 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. The course will be taught by Agricultural Extension Agents from the Vance, Warren, Granville, and Person County offices.

To see the full schedule with dates and times and to register for this FREE series visit http://go.ncsu.edu/BackyardAg101. Please note that space is limited and registration is required.

If you have questions, please call 252-438-8188 or email [email protected].

Warren County Confirms Third Case of COVID-19

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

A third case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Warren County. The Warren County Health Department received confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test result on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Residents should be diligent about complying with the Governor’s Stay at Home order; they should be practicing prevention measures and social distancing as the County tries to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Warren County.

Warren County will continue to update its COVID-19 resources page with updates on confirmed case counts. Residents may also check-in daily with the NC Department of Health and Human Services for their NC case count at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/covid-19-nc-case-count.

For more information, residents can call the Warren County Health Department at 252-257-1185, the Warren County COVID-19 Information Line at 252-257-7132, Monday– Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or visit the Warren County Government website at https://www.warrencountync.com/712/COVID-19-Resources.

SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses Launches

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-Press Release, U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza launched the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion emergency loan program created last week with the President’s signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).

The program provides forgivable loans up to $10 million to small businesses left financially distressed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The loans, which will be administered at the local level by a national network of banks and credit unions, are designed to maintain the viability of millions of small businesses struggling to meet payroll and day-to-day operating expenses.

“These loans will bring immediate economic relief and eight weeks of financial certainty to millions of small businesses and their employees,” SBA Administrator Carranza said. “We urge every struggling small business to take advantage of this unprecedented federal resource – their viability is critically important to their employees, their community, and the country.”

The loans, which are 100% backed by SBA, are being provided to small businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees, SBA fees, or credit elsewhere tests. Those eligible for the program include small businesses, certain non-profits, veterans’ organizations, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and other businesses meeting size standards based on their North American Industry Classification System code.

The Paycheck Protection Program’s maximum loan amount is $10 million with a fixed 1% interest rate and maturity of two years.

The loans are available to cover up to eight weeks of average monthly payroll (based on 2019 figures) plus 25% and payments are deferred for six months (interest does accrue). The SBA will forgive the portion of loan proceeds used for payroll costs and other designated operating expenses for up to eight weeks, provided at least 75% of loan proceeds are used for payroll costs. Eligible expenses for the eight-week forgiveness include:

  • Payroll costs (excluding the prorated portion of any compensation above $100,000 per year for any person. Payroll costs include salary, commissions, tips; certain employee benefits including sick leave and health care premiums, and state and local taxes;
  • Mortgage interest (not prepayment or principal payments) and rent payments on mortgages and leases in existence after February 15, 2020;
  • Utilities such as electricity, gas, water, transportation, phone and internet access for services that began before February 15, 2020; and
  • Additional wages paid to tipped employees.

Visit www.SBA.gov/Coronavirus for additional resources about protecting your business, employees and customers.

Warren Co. Seeks Demolition Contractors for Abandoned Manufactured Homes

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Warren County is seeking interested and qualified demolition contractors to participate in the County’s Abandoned Manufactured (mobile) Home Deconstruction Program.

Contractors will be responsible for deconstructing abandoned manufactured (mobile) homes by separating recyclable materials from non-recyclable materials and disposing of both at the appropriate waste disposal facilities with appropriate permits.

Contractors interested in submitting bids must contact Ken Krulik in the Warren County Planning/Zoning and Code Enforcement Department and complete a contractor application. Forms can be submitted by email or hard copy mail; email [email protected] for an application.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on May 8, 2020. Contact the Planning and Zoning Department by phone at (252) 257-7027 for more information.

Congressman Butterfield to Hold Teleconference for Small Business Owners

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-Information courtesy the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce

Congressman G.K. Butterfield will host a teleconference on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at 10 a.m. for any small business owner in North Carolina’s First Congressional District.

Butterfield will provide a brief update on the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act designed to provide emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Representatives from the Small Business Administration will also be available to answer any questions. The dial-in number for the teleconference is (646) 558-8656 and the access code is 257 939 448 #.

Duke Energy’s Work Continues During Stay-at-Home Ordinance

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-Information courtesy Tanya Evans, District Manager, Duke Energy

The health and safety of Duke Energy customers, our employees and the communities where we operate is our top priority. As one of the many essential services responding to this national emergency, our work continues even while there is a stay-at-home ordinance.

We continue to respond to power outages and other emergencies. Our company technicians are also completing service orders such as new electric connections, lighting repairs and tree trimming around our lines and substations, but we are doing it in ways that follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s safety guidelines.

Here is how one of our lineworkers explains the changes in their routine as a result of the virus. Click here to see it on our Twitter page or you can find it on YouTube.

Equipping Nonprofits to Weather the Pandemic

The NC Center for Nonprofits and Duke Energy have teamed up with the Nonprofit Risk Management Center to offer a FREE four-part webinar series, Building Organizational Resilience, to help nonprofits take the necessary steps to prepare for a crisis. The webinar series begins on April 8. Click here to learn more.

Also, in addition to providing support to hunger relief efforts across the state, the Duke Energy Foundation is reaching out to our non-profit grant recipients and providing flexibility in using existing grants to respond to their changing needs as a result of COVID-19.

Working in Your Community

As one of the many essential services responding to this national emergency, our work continues – even in those areas with stay-at-home ordinances. You may still see some of our field technicians working in and around your neighborhood. Their work is helping to ensure that residential communities, businesses and critical facilities have the power they need throughout this time.

As a precaution, if you do see our workers, please avoid approaching them and their work areas. If there is a need to speak with them, be aware that they will be maintaining at least 6 feet of separation. We’ll also be keeping this recommended distance anytime direct interaction for essential services is required on customer properties, inside homes and businesses, consistent with CDC and other public health guidelines.

Financial Relief for Customers

We realize that many of our customers are facing unusual financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. That’s why we’ve taken several measures to help lessen the strain on those most vulnerable. We’ve suspended disconnections for nonpayment and we’re waiving fees for late payments, credit card payments and walk-in pay centers. We’ve also relaxed our timelines for payment extensions.

We encourage all customers to stay as current as possible with their payments to avoid building up a large balance that may be difficult to manage later. If you or anyone you know needs help paying, a number of assistance programs may also be available.

Finally, if spending more time at home is affecting your budget, consider these quick tips to help keep energy use in check:

  • Wash full laundry loads rather than multiple, small loads. You’ll save water, detergent and energy.
  • Cover liquids and wrap foods before putting them in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and force your appliance’s compressor to work harder.
  • Choose “sleep” over “screen saver.” While effective in preserving your computer monitor, screen savers require the same amount of energy as when a computer is in full use.

Throughout this challenging time, we will continue to provide you with more energy-saving ideas and ways to save. And remember, customers with smart meters can monitor their daily consumption online to gain better insight into new usage patterns.

Customer Service

You can take care of most routine service and account issues via our automated phone system and pay your bill online or through our mobile app.

If you have a more complex issue and need to speak with a customer service representative, we are available to help you Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In an effort to keep our employees healthy and safe without compromising availability, our specialists are now working remotely and are able to provide all the same services as usual.

Stay Alert to Scams

Sadly, we all must stay alert to the possibility of criminal activity, especially during times of uncertainty. Remember that Duke Energy never asks for personal information over the phone and never demands payment using money orders or gift cards. If you are unsure if a call or visit is legitimate, hang up or decline service and call us directly.

We will continue to look for ways to help you negotiate these difficult times. You can keep up with our preparations as circumstances change by visiting dukeenergyupdates.com.

First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Warren County

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

An individual was tested for COVID-19 on Monday, March 30 and confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test result was received at the Warren County Health Department on Friday, April 3. The individual is currently receiving medical care at an inpatient facility. To protect privacy, no additional information about the individual will be shared by the health department.

“Given the spread of COVID-19 across North Carolina and in our region, we are not surprised to receive our first case,” stated Dr. Margaret Brake, Warren County Health Director.

Warren County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff is working at this time to conduct contact tracing to make sure everyone who came into close contact with this individual is quarantined. Close contact is anyone who was within six feet of the individual for 10 minutes or more.

Contacts of individuals who are confirmed positive for COVID-19 will be given information about isolation and quarantine and asked to monitor symptoms. Due to the limited supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and test kits across the state and nation, Warren County residents should not seek testing for Coronavirus unless they have symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing, shortness of breath) or have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive. State guidance continues to require those symptoms to be present in order to send in a sample for testing. Residents who are sick should call their doctor before going to the office, hospital or urgent care.

While this illness is not severe for most people and they can recover at home, it can be really serious for others. Individuals who have a higher risk for complications are those 65 years and older; have chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma; weakened immune systems; pregnant women and infants.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, at this time there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. However, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection. Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, disinfecting surfaces, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Community-based interventions can also slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes measures collectively known as “social distancing.” Social distancing measures aim to reduce the frequency of contact and increase the physical distance between persons, thereby reducing the risks of person-to-person transmission. Implementation of these measures can slow the spread of this disease.

“Residents are advised to comply with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order, only going out for essential needs. We urge you to stay home to save lives,” says Dr. Margaret Brake, Warren County Health Director.

For more information on COVID-19 and preventive measures you can take, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html or the NC Department of Health and Human Services website: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina.

Residents can also call the Warren County COVID-19 Information Line at 252-257-7132, Monday– Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or visit the Warren County Government website at https://www.warrencountync.com/712/COVID-19-Resources.

Town Talk 04/02/20: NCAFP’s Greg Griggs Discusses Coronavirus Challenges

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Greg Griggs, executive vice president of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (NCAFP), appeared on WIZS Town Talk Thursday at 11 a.m.

With a membership of over 4,200 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students, the mission of the NCAFP is to advance the specialty of family medicine to improve the health of patients, families and communities in North Carolina.

In light of the current COVID-19 health crisis, the NCAFP’s communication with its members is more important than ever. “It’s certainly unprecedented times in healthcare – for the physicians as well as the patients,” said Griggs.

One of the greatest challenges physicians are facing with coronavirus, according to Griggs, is knowing who to test and when to test, especially with recommendations and testing capabilities changing almost daily.

“Initially, the protocol was to test as many people as possible,” Griggs explained. “With community spread increasing, that recommendation changed. Now, if you have mild symptoms and think you have it, you’ll be told to stay at home, not get tested and to treat it like any other virus.”

The reason for the change is two-fold: if you are not infected with COVID-19, physicians and hospitals do not want you to become exposed to the virus from others via an in-person visit; if you do have it and come in-person, you risk exposing other people who may not have it.

For those showing symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, Griggs recommended contacting your doctor’s office for guidance, “but don’t be surprised if they say you don’t need to get tested; that’s part of the CDC and NCDHHS guidelines. It’s taking social distancing to the nth degree.”

Another challenge for patients with existing health conditions is to know when to keep doctor appointments, when to reschedule and how to get the medical help they need while minimizing their exposure risk.

Even with Governor Cooper’s Stay At Home Executive Order in place until at least April 29, NC residents are still able to visit their healthcare provider, pick up medication from a pharmacy, buy groceries and engage in other travel deemed “essential.”

The general rule of thumb for rescheduling procedures and appointments during this national shutdown is to consider the long-term health consequences. For example, many patients and physicians are rescheduling elective surgeries that are not life-threatening.

“Putting off surgeries and procedures where the health risk of postponement is minimal keeps you healthy and keeps resources available for the sickest,” Griggs stated.

What physicians are most concerned about, he said, are patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart conditions.

“We don’t want people with chronic conditions to ignore or put off their appointments,” said Griggs. “Before being seen face-to-face, call your doctor’s office and talk about alternative methods such as telehealth virtual visits or even the possibility of being assisted in the parking lot.”

For more information on the NCAFP, please visit www.ncafp.com.

To hear the interview with Griggs in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

No Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 Reported in Warren Co. to Date

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-Information courtesy Warren County Health Department

As of early afternoon on April 2, 2020, Warren County does NOT have any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

This does not mean the county is free from harm; every Warren County resident should heed Governor Roy Cooper’s Stay at Home Executive Order and only leave home for essential activities.

Wash your hands, maintain 6-feet of distance from other people and please stay home if you are sick. As we know, not everyone who is experiencing symptoms has been tested, and it is possible for someone to carry the virus and be an asymptomatic carrier (this means they do not show symptoms).

Have health-related questions about COVID-19? Call the Warren County Health Department at 252-257-6000.