WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — At a Board of Commissioners meeting Monday, New Hanover County leaders got an update on COVID-19 and what the county is doing to prepare.
Representatives from both Health and Human Services and Emergency Management detailed the county’s objectives. Those include reducing the virus’ impact, promoting early detection, forming an organized response, minimizing economic loss, and maintaining essential government operations.
The board advises taking all the necessary precautions to keep yourself healthy, but they also want everyone to remain calm and informed.
“What’s happening in Washington State is not really happening in New Hanover County, but we need to be prepared for if things were to happen here in our community as well,” said Commissioner Jonathan Barfield.
Barfield’s daughter has been studying in Italy where the entire country is now under quarantine.
“From a dad’s perspective, I was deeply concerned,” Barfield said. “My daughter is 3,000 plus miles away, there’s nothing that I can do help or protect her or keep her safe.”
His daughter is now home under self quarantine, though Commissioner Barfield says she isn’t showing any symptoms. Meanwhile, the county is actively preparing for a potential outbreak in the Cape Fear.
“80 percent of the cases tend to be mild, it can look somewhat flu-like,” said Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown.
Brown says the real concern revolves around the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
“This is serious, it’s something to pay attention to. There is currently no vaccine,” Brown said. “That said, the risk in New Hanover County remains low at this time, but we’re very closely monitoring the situation.”
Commissioner Barfield raised concerns to Emergency Management Director Steven Still that COVID-19 could come in through the Port of Wilmington.
“After speaking with the Coast Guard and after speaking with the port, I feel very comfortable that they have a pretty firm handle on what’s coming into the ports,” Still replied.
For more information from New Hanover County, and to sign up for updates on COVID-19, click here.