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Franklin County Responds to Coronavirus Concerns

100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm

-Press Release, Franklin County Government

Effective March 11, 2020, and in consultation with the Franklin County Emergency Management Services, Sherriff’s Department, County Administration and the Louisburg Police Department, the Franklin County Health Department is opening the Franklin County Coronavirus & COVID-19 Joint Information Center (COVID-19 JIC) Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Purpose: This JIC will serve as the place for residents, businesses and other agencies to obtain timely, accurate, reliable and actionable Franklin County-specific information regarding the coronavirus and COVID-19 within Franklin County.  The Franklin County Health Department combines information from our regular updates with Federal and State Agencies, together with our local resources, to provide you and/or your organization with the best Franklin County-specific information available.

Local Virus Questions: If you want reliable information, please call: (919) 496 – 8113.

As more people become concerned about the coronavirus, it is vitally important to ensure that everyone has the most up-to-date, accurate and reliable information possible. The Franklin County Health Department, with our local communicable disease professionals and our epidemiology team, has been working with State and Federal Officials to ensure everyone in Franklin County receives properly vetted, accurate and actionable regional and local information regarding the coronavirus.

For the most up-to-date information on the virus, please use the NCDHHS website: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina.

Please note that there are currently NO confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus (that causes COVID-19) in Franklin County. The Franklin County Health Department will keep our residents apprised of the situation as soon as accurate, reliable and actionable information becomes available.

Increased Available Testing: As the Novel Coronavirus continues to spread, and with relaxed testing guidelines and increasing numbers of test kits available, there will be individuals today who now meet the criteria for testing, who just a week ago did not. That will increase the number of people being tested, which is welcome news. However, increased testing is just one part of our prevention efforts.

Time of Year: Given the time of year, there are many illnesses that are at their peak in late February and early March in our area (i.e. influenza, strep, etc.), whose symptoms mimic COVID-19. As a result, many individuals who are sick with a variety of other ailments (i.e. flu) will now be able to “rule-out” coronavirus given these new standards and increased testing capabilities. Given that the modes of transmission for these other ailments are similar to the Novel Coronavirus, precautions already being used (given this time of year) to protect you from these other ailments will also protect you from COVID-19.

When More Actionable Information Becomes Available, We Will Get the Word Out: The Franklin County Health Department is in close contact with state and federal officials, our local hospital, Maria Parham Franklin, and all other Franklin County Healthcare providers, daycare centers, schools and other governmental agencies, to keep everyone updated with the most current information regarding the virus’ spread, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

As soon as there is any information available that the public, healthcare providers and/or other governmental agencies will need to enhance their own safety, we will get the information to you as soon as possible.

Current Status: There are numerous people across our region being monitored and/or tested for this virus. At this point in time, we have NO confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 in Franklin County. IF there were individuals who presented with symptoms that indicated the need for testing, all healthcare providers are aware of the protocols to implement in order to protect their staff and the public (i.e. quarantine and isolation procedures) while they test and treat anyone suspected of having the virus.

EMS staff and other first responders should already be practicing the same set of cleaning and personal protection measures designed to keep them safe from flu (given it is peak flu season), and those same measures will keep them safe from the novel coronavirus.

What Can You Do: Given the virus has been confirmed in Wake County, and will likely spread to surrounding counties at some point, everyone should practice personal protection measures to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe:

  • avoid touching your face (including eyes, mouth, nose and ears);
  • Wash your hands frequently & thoroughly (front & back) with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds AND if available, use hand sanitizers frequently;
  • cough/sneeze into your elbow/arm, and avoid any physical contact greetings (i.e. no handshakes, etc.);
  • avoid others if you’re sick;
  • stay home from work/school and don’t visit anyone (especially older adults & children and those with chronic conditions) if you’re sick;
  • If over the age of 60 and/or suffering from a chronic health condition, avoid large public gatherings (issued by CDC on 3-7-19);
  • Avoid being closer than 6 feet (or 3 feet at a minimum) for longer than 10 minutes with anyone, especially those who may be ill;
  • All agencies and businesses have been advised to practice their enhanced cleaning and personal protection protocols, as is normal practice for this time of year (given it is peak flu season).

Bottom line: The virus has not reached Franklin County yet, but it will likely be here eventually. Prepare yourself by practicing the steps above, and you can minimize the risk to your family and friends.

For additional information, please call the Franklin County Coronavirus COVID-19 Joint Information Center at 919-496-8113 or visit https://www.franklincountync.us/services/health.

Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health Prepared for Coronavirus; No Reported Cases to Date

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

-Press Release, Maria Parham Health

Maria Parham Health is committed to providing the highest quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors. We are continuing to work closely with Granville Vance Public Health and following guidance from the NC Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure our hospital is prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID–19).

Additionally, we are reviewing our facility’s robust emergency operations plan and proactively completing a number of preparation checklists out of an abundance of caution.

While we have not evaluated OR treated any patients with this virus at our hospital to date, Maria Parham Health has taken the following measures to prepare, in accordance with CDC guidelines:

• Patients in the Emergency Department and inpatient units are screened based on their recent travel history.
• Personal protective equipment, including face masks, is being stored and managed appropriately based on the risk of exposure or infection.
• Hand hygiene products are easily accessible throughout the facility.

Importantly, all of the above are standard operating protocols that are in place year-round to help ensure the health and well-being of everyone who enters our hospital.

We want to assure our community that our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of viruses and infectious diseases, including the coronavirus.

For more information, contact Granville Vance Public Health or visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.

Warren County Logo

Warren County Public Health Staff Stress Prevention for COVID-19

100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm

-Press Release, Warren County Government 

Warren County public health staff are advising citizens to take the same precautions they would normally take for the flu or any other respiratory illness in response to concerns about COVID-19 (also being called coronavirus).

Some of these prevention measures include washing your hands frequently with soap and water, disinfecting touched objects and surfaces, and staying home if you are sick.

Staff at the Warren County Public Health Department and Warren County Emergency Services are working together and taking direction from the federal and state government in regard to COVID-19. The NC Division of Public Health has a weekly call for local health departments, and the Warren County Health Department is following the protocol process that is set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NC Department of Public Health.

Warren County Emergency Services is actively participating with NC Office of Emergency Medical Services and NC Emergency Management in receiving regular updates. Emergency Services is also working with E-911 on the protocol for call intake in regard to COVID-19.

The Warren County Health Department Epidemiology (Epi) Team works together when communicable disease issues arise that could impact our community. Staff have been meeting regularly to address protocol involving COVID-19. The Health Department is not passing out masks to the public. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, or any other respiratory illness, please contact your doctor.

Most importantly, while the importance of preventative measures is stressed to combat any communicable disease (not just COVID-19), Public Health and Emergency Services staff are urging citizens not to panic and reassuring the community that Warren County healthcare and emergency professionals have the proper protocols in place to handle the concerns involving COVID-19.

For more information, please contact Public Health Director Dr. Margaret Brake at (252) 257-6000.

Granville Vance Public Health Logo

Town Talk 03/04/20: Harrison, G-V Public Health Director, Discusses Coronavirus

THIS STORY IS PRESENTED IN PART BY DRAKE DENTISTRY

Lisa Harrison, director of Granville-Vance Public Health, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

In light of recent news that North Carolina’s first case of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in nearby Wake County, Harrison addressed the local health department’s response to the disease.

“Viruses change over time, and this is an emerging situation,” explained Harrison. “We at Granville-Vance Public Health are paying close attention daily to information that comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Division of Public Health, the State Health Director and our whole epidemiology team who are very involved right now with our response in the United States and in North Carolina.”

According to the CDC, coronavirus, much like a cold or the flu, can spread between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those suffering from the virus are thought to be at least mildly contagious before showing symptoms but are more likely to infect others when they are the most symptomatic.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed cases. Symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, may appear 2-14 days after initial exposure.

The CDC recommends contacting a healthcare provider if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled to an area with an ongoing spread such as China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea. Your healthcare provider will work with the public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

While not a time to panic, Harrison said it is important that residents seek credible sources for COVID-19 updates and take precautions to avoid exposure including:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (at least 20 seconds each time)
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed or washed hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or bend of the arm when sneezing or coughing
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the knowledge of your public health service,” Harrison said. “The most important thing to stress to individuals and families in Vance and Granville County is that everyone needs to continue to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of any respiratory illness, including the flu and colds.”

A toll-free helpline has been established for those with questions about COVID-19 and can be reached by calling 1-866-462-3821.

You may also find additional information by visiting the Granville-Vance Public Health website at www.gvph.org and the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.

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