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First COVID-19 death in Pender County

BURGAW- Pender County Health Department reported the first death due to COVID-19 in the county. The patient, an offender from the Pender County Correctional Institution, passed away yesterday evening.

“Coronavirus has caused deaths around our region and it’s difficult when one occurs,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services director.

The Pender County Board of County Commissioners issued a statement expressing their sympathies to the family of the COVID-19 patient who lost his life at the hospital.

“Pender County residents should continue to practice social distancing, stay at home, and practice good hygiene,” said Moser. “We know these measures work in our effort to mitigate this virus.”

The Pender County Commissioners urged residents to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously and follow the guidelines set forth by the county health department, Center for Disease Control and North Carolina Health and Human Services.

While the offender’s death was the first in Pender County, his death was also the first death in the state’s prison system. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety also issued a release.

“Any death is a tragedy, and we must continue our efforts to do all we can to try and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Prisons,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “The health and safety of the staff and the men and women in our custody is of paramount importance.”

The offender exhibited symptoms of a viral infection on April 8, 2020. He was promptly isolated from the population, in keeping with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NC Department of Health and Human Services and tested for COVID-19. The test came back positive on April 10, 2020. Despite constant medical attention, he was hospitalized on April 13, 2020. His condition worsened, and the offender died at the hospital on April 21.

The offender was a male in his late fifties and had underlying health conditions. Given his family’s right to privacy and the confidentiality of prison offender records, the Department of Public Safety will not further identify the individual.

Prisons leadership has taken a substantial number of actions throughout the North Carolina prison system to try to prevent transmission of the virus. Those actions, along with offender testing information that is updated daily, are found on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.

Assistance programs to navigate COVID-19 impacts

Just a few weeks ago we didn’t have acronyms such as COVID, PPE, PPP, and DUA. It’s difficult to keep up, especially when you need assistance for your health, your business, and your everyday life.

Please review the attached documents provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services and Pender County Health and Human Services.

Program DescriptionsCounty Flyer for Applying for ServicesCombined Flyer with Program Description



Pender Correctional Institution takes a proactive approach to COVID-19

Four offenders have been diagnosed with Coronavirus

BURGAW –Leadership for the Pender Correctional Institution, a North Carolina Division of Prisons facility, has taken proactive measures to contain and reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

“Currently, the prison has four confirmed cases of COVID-19,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services director. “The prison medical staff is proactive and collaborating with the health department’s communicable disease staff.”

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is taking a proactive and aggressive approach to protect staff and offenders, prison officials state.

Among the actions taken include:

• A moratorium on accepting offenders from county jails;
• Suspension of visitation and offender outside work assignments;
• Medical screenings for all staff entering the prison;
• Reducing offender interactions;
• Providing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety said during the COVID-19 pandemic, the top priority is the safety and health of employees, those incarcerated, and the general public.

“Confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Pender Correctional Institution are included in the Pender County case count.” Moser said. “The offenders are residents of Pender County and all tests results are recorded with the Pender County Health Department.”

Gov. Cooper shares a path forward for North Carolina – testing, tracing, and trends

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper today charted a path forward for eventually easing certain COVID-19 restrictions while still protecting North Carolinians from a dangerous second wave of the virus.

“This virus is going to be with us until there is a vaccine, which may be a year or more away,” said Governor Cooper. “That means that as we ease restrictions, we are going to enter a new normal. We want to get back to work while at the same time preventing a spike that will overwhelm our hospitals with COVID-19 cases.”

Expert modeling has shown it would be dangerous to lift the restrictions all at once because it would increase the chances that hospitals become overwhelmed and unable to care for severely ill patients. Cooper emphasized that changes in restrictions must protect public health, especially those who are most vulnerable to severe illness, including people over age 65, those with underlying health conditions and people living in congregate settings.

“Experts tell us it would be dangerous to lift our restrictions all at once. Rather than an on/off light switch, we are viewing this as a dimmer switch that can be adjusted incrementally,” said Governor Cooper.

In order to ease restrictions, the state needs to make more progress in three areas: testing, tracing and trends.

State planning relies on an increase in testing capabilities to identify, isolate and track new cases of COVID-19. This means having the supplies and lab capacity to do more testing across the state. Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, has brought together laboratory partners from the public and private sector to coordinate efforts to ensure testing – diagnostic and antibody – is widely available across the state while also conserving protective equipment.

Tracing requires the state to boost the public health workforce and ability to trace contacts of new cases of COVID-19. Contact tracing can be effective at containing new outbreaks, but it requires more personnel. When a person tests positive, the tracing efforts will help identify who that individual may have been in contact with so those people can get tested and take the right precautions. NC DHHS is working with its partners to increase this critical piece of our public health workforce. New digital tools can also help scale this effort.

In order to ease restrictions, the state needs to understand how COVID-19 is impacting the state and impacting specific populations and regions of the state to determine when to strengthen or ease social distancing policies. Trends that will influence policy decisions will be based on data like the new positive cases, hospitalizations, deaths, as well as available supply of personal protective equipment, hospital capacity.

“Because we acted early and because we acted together, we have averted the devastating scenarios we have seen playing out in other parts of our country and across the globe. We now need to look ahead at how we stay ahead of the curve. Widespread testing, aggressive contact tracing, and data-informed policy decisions are our best tools to keep our communities safe and protect our frontline workers,” said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD.

Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources. For more information on public health, please visit the CDC’s website at and NCDHHS’ website at, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

For more information about economic relief, child care and food services, the state COVID-19 website at includes daily updates on COVID-19 assistance.

Gov. Cooper orders tightened social distancing measure, strengthen long-term care rules and streamline unemployment benefits process

Executive Order No. 131 Sets Policies for Retail Stores, Enforces Mandatory Rules at Nursing Homes and Expedites Issuing Unemployment Benefits

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper took action to the address the spread of COVID-19 by issuing stronger social distancing requirements and speeding up the process to get benefits to people out of work through Executive Order No. 131.

Three key areas are addressed in Executive Order 131. The first requires retail stores that are still operating to implement new social distancing policies to make shopping safer for customers and employees. The second makes earlier COVID-19 guidelines mandatory for nursing facilities, and recommends other long-term care facilities to do the same. The third area is unemployment benefits, issuing changes that will speed up certain benefit payments to those who are out of work.

“North Carolina continues to take strong action to slow the spread of COVID-19, and today’s Order will help make stores safer, protect those living and working in nursing homes, and get more unemployment benefits out quicker. Our state is resilient, and we will get through this crisis together if we all do our part,” said Governor Cooper.

This Order offers clear requirements that essential businesses must implement in order to safeguard the health of customers and employees. Some of the directives include:
• Setting limits of how many people can be in a store at one time, 5 people per 1,000 square feet of retail space or 20% of fire marshal posted occupancy limits
• Marking 6 feet of distance for areas where people gather like checkout lines
• Requiring specific cleaning measures for retail stores
The Order encourages:
• Implementing hygiene recommendations for employees and customers, like hand sanitizer at the doors and face coverings for workers
• Establishing designated shopping times designated for high-risk groups
• Creating barriers between customers and employees at checkout to lower the risk of required interactions

Creating barriers between customers and employees at checkout to lower the risk of required interactions

The Order states these requirements will last for 30 days unless extended by further executive action.

The Order sets public health and safety requirements for nursing homes during the public health emergency. The Order encourages other long-term care facilities to follow the same guidance. Some of the directives include:
• Canceling communal activities, including group meals
• Taking the temperature of employees and essential personnel when they enter the facility
• Requiring specific personal protective equipment in the facility
• Requiring close monitoring of residents for COVID-19 health indicators like body temperature
The Order states these requirements will last until this order is repealed.

The Order makes it easier for employers to file a batch of claims, called an attached claim, on behalf of their employees. By temporarily eliminating some of the hurdles for employers, benefits can get in the hands of those who need them faster.

The Order will extend 60 days beyond the date the state of emergency is lifted to allow employers to get back on their feet.

Additionally, the Department of Employment Services issued information on timing of federal benefits reaching North Carolinians today.

Read the full Order.

Read questions and answers about specific items in the order.

Make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at and NCDHHS’ website at, which includes daily updates on positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.


April 7 Situation Report

Sit Report 27_04072020

Here is today’s Situation Report. There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pender County. The health department knows of 89 residents who have been tested for COVID-19 (this does not include the number of tests by medical providers outside the county); 72 of those tests were confirmed negative and 16 tests are currently pending.

Resources available to local businesses impacted by COVID-19

If COVID-19 has impacted your business, there’s assistance available. We are providing links to the various agencies where you may apply or simply learn more about the programs.

Non-profit organizations suffering losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for assistance from the SBA. For more details, click here.

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan is a program for all North Carolina businesses with loans up to $50,000.

• Businesses and individuals may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing Loan application forms can also be downloaded Here’s a link for more information on low-interest loans.

• The Small Business Administration offers information for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Click here for the link.

• Available from the Cape Fear Community College Small Business Center are numerous free online classes to help small businesses deal with the COVID-19 crisis and the economic havoc it has played upon us. Take advantage of these FREE classes to help you navigate through these uncharted waters of a pandemic.

• Be sure to visit SCORE, a free service with helpful links designed for your success. This national resource with an office in the Cape Fear Region offers many helpful tips, webinars, and links to business resources.

• For business loan information, ThreadCapital will offer guidance. It’s a free service.

If you must lay-off employees who will file for unemployment, please list COVID-19 as the reason for the ‘separation’ and instruct your employees to do the same. We were told by the NC Department of Commerce this will expedite an overwhelmed process.

N.C. State Extension has an extensive page of resources for our farm families and agricultural sector, including information on food safety and supply chain issues.

• A reminder from the IRS about the distribution of Economic Impact Payments authorized by the CARES Act, which will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Here’s more information about the payments, who qualifies and how they’ll be distributed. An important reminder: individuals on Social Security who have not filed tax returns ARE eligible for the payments.

• Treasury and IRS have also launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payrolls during the pandemic. The refundable tax credit is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. Updates on the implementation of this credit and other information can be found on the Coronavirus page of It’s important to remember that businesses that receive Paycheck Protection Program loans are not eligible to receive the Employee Retention Credit.

The attached document provides detailed information about North Carolina and Federal Business Relief ResourcesCOVID-19 Business Relief Resources v15

  • This SBA link goes directly to the loan page and describes each they are offering.
  • For help with applying for the SBA Loan, call 800-659-2955 or email You can also use a text telephone (TTY) by calling 1-800-877-8339.
  • If unable to reach someone from SBA PLEASE UTLILIZE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES (depending on size of company) Contact your local location based on your county and schedule an online counseling session
    • FEWER than 9 Employees – Contact the local – SBC – Small Business Center Network –
    • MORE than 10 Employees – Contact the local – SBTDC – Small Business Technology Development Center –
    In the Cape Fear Region call Don Spry – Tel: 910-398-0746; email: ; Fax: 202-292-3787

    Unemploymentthere has been a long wait time for calls to the Unemployment Office, please try to do as much as you can online.
    N.C. Division of Employment Security – 888.737.0259
    If you have lost your job or been laid off, file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.

  • If you are not eligible for UI benefits, the business owner and/or employee may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA is a federal program that provides temporary payments to people in a federally declared disaster area whose employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of the disaster. Business owners that are self-employed, farmers, or commercial fishermen, who are unemployed as a direct result of the disaster may be eligible.
    How do I apply for DUA? – What is Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)?
    You can file online. Once you have created an online account, file for unemployment and choose the appropriate reason for losing your job. If you have difficulty filing online, you may contact the DUA Hotline at 1-866-795-8877 Employee Call Center 866-278-3822

Pender County staff will continue to compile new information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to thank Congressman Rouzer’s office, Small Business Administration, SCORE, and Cape Fear Community College Small Business Center for providing us with useful information. 

Pender County identifies second case of COVID-19

BURGAW- The second case of Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, has been confirmed in Pender County.

“The individual’s exposure was travel-related,” Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services director, said. “The individual is in isolation.”

Pender County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff continues working to conduct contact tracing to make certain everyone who came in close proximity to this individual is quarantined.

Close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6-ft. of the individual for 10 minutes or more.

To protect the individual’s privacy, no further details will be released.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19, reported April 3, was also a travel-related exposure.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Pender County Health Department is open Mondays through Fridays, 8-5 p.m. The telephone number is 910-259-1230.

For updated information, visit,, or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services at

Pender County identifies first case of COVID-19

BURGAW –  The first case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Pender County. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has traveled outside the county. The individual was tested on March 31, 2020 and confirmation of a positive test result was received at the Pender County Health Department on April 3, 2020. This individual self-isolated at the onset of symptoms and remains in isolation.

Pender County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff is working to identify close contacts. Close contact is anyone who was within six feet of the individual for ten minutes or more. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.

“There is nothing to indicate this was a community-acquired transmission,” stated Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services Director. “All indications are this was travel-related. We are following all state protocols for contact tracing.”

Currently there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. However, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection. Residents should continue to shelter in place per the Governor’s Executive Order #121. We encourage everyone to practice social distancing of six feet, wash hands frequently, stay at home if you are sick, disinfect surfaces, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Social distancing is the best way to prevent or limit the spread of this disease.

For more information on COVID-19 preventive measures, please visit:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services-
Pender County Government-
Or call the health department at (910) 259-1230

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