- On March 22, 2020
Note: We want to share important information with you as efficiently as possible. Going forward, we will combine all COVID-19-related updates into one news release each day. This news release will be emailed to you around 5 p.m. We will send additional news releases in some circumstances.
Wake County is investigating three new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive test results in Wake County to 52.
As of 5 p.m. on March 22, there are 54 people under investigation who were exposed to the virus and have developed symptoms.
In response to the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19, Wake County is putting new restrictions in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus and protect the local healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford has amended the county’s State of Emergency Declaration. The changes he enacted will require some business to close, prohibit gatherings of 50 people or more, change visitation practices at nursing homes and restrict the use of playground equipment at local parks.
“We know these are challenging times, and we appreciate the sacrifices people are making for the benefit of our community’s health,” Ford said. “By putting these new restrictions and recommendations into effect, we’re slowing the spread of the virus, protecting our residents who are most at-risk and ensuring our healthcare system has the capacity to continue serving our community.”
The county has set up a dedicated phone line to address business-specific questions: 919-856-7420. In addition, additional FAQs have been included on the county’s COVID-19 webpage here.
Which Businesses Need to Close?
The declaration requires that business types listed below must close by 8 a.m. Monday, March 23, and remain closed through Thursday, April 30.
- Fitness centers and clubs
- Hair salons
- Barber shops
- Nail salons
- Tanning salons
- Massage establishments
- Tattoo parlors
- Any professional grooming services
If your business is not listed above and you can maintain the following conditions, your business may remain open:
- Serving 50 people or less at one time.
- Ensuring a six-foot distance between patrons and employees at all times.
Many types of businesses are exempt from the new restrictions. See a full list here.
If you have determined you may remain open, Wake County strongly recommends that businesses screen employees and customers for fever and respiratory illness before they enter the facility, sending sick employees home.
Wake County is partnering with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Wake County Economic Development to share resources with all businesses impacted by closures and service restrictions. You can visit their COVID-19 resource page for more information.
Changes for Nursing Homes
The declaration also requires nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living centers to cease group activities that don’t allow for social distancing. Residents can only have one adult visitor per day, unless it is an end-of-life situation, and the visitor must be screened for:
- fever of 100.4 degrees or higher,
- a cough and
- difficulty breathing before they can enter the building.
Playgrounds, Bathrooms Closed at Parks
Playground equipment and bathrooms at Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space locations are closed through April 30. Parks and preserves remain open, but visitors are asked to practice social distancing.
Mobile tours are available for several Wake County parks. Grab your smart phone and experience our parks in a new, interactive way!
Changes to County Services
As we navigate the fluid situation caused by COVID-19, the county continues to keep the health and welfare of our community as our top objective. As a result, some county services may be paused or curtailed, including:
- Permits and Inspections: The time to issue permits and inspections may slow down during this period. The Permit Counter will only open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The GIS (Maps) counter will only open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Regional Centers: All county regional centers (Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Millbrook Human Services Centers) are closed to the public.
- Veterans Services Office: Scheduling an appointment in advance is recommended. The office will be open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., at the Falstaff location only.
- Tax Administration: The office is open only to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
A full list of changes can be found here.
Testing by the Numbers
Providing an accurate number of tests taken at any given time is challenging, because samples are processed by multiple laboratories, including the State Laboratory of Public Health and LabCorp. Other locations may come online in the future.
The county doesn’t have access to the number of tests LabCorp is processing each day, but it does track samples submitted to the State Lab. However, in both cases, positive results are reported to the local Public Health Division.
Our Wake County Public Health team is reaching out to each positive case to assess their symptoms, gauge their health risks and provide guidance on self-isolating. Our staff ask that they stay home for at least seven days after the onset of symptoms and do not go out in public until they are symptom free for at least three days. Symptom free includes being fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Media should contact LabCorp for similar numbers from private sector tests.
The county’s public health team encourages you to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:
- Stay away from sick people and practice social distancing measures.
- Wash your hands.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19. You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents in English and in Spanish, a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19. The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.