KEY POINTS

  • As of Friday, July 17, there are now 902 positive cases of COVID-19 among county residents—about a 20 percent increase in the past week (405 considered recovered, 475 isolating at 384 different homes, 11 hospitalized, 11 deaths)
  • Community spread, social gatherings, and exposure due to employment in the service industry continue to be recurring trends in potential exposure to the virus among positive resident cases, especially among those aged 25-49 years old
  • Reminders and clarification about the Governor’s face covering requirement in public places and the extension of North Carolina’s Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Community spread through increased activities in public places, social gatherings, and employment in the service industry: these recurring trends continue to be likely factors in several recent cases’ exposure to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Another recurring trend: a significant portion of the identified cases are aged 25 to 49 years old. To date, more than one-third of all positive cases in Brunswick County fall under this age range.

While this is consistent with state and national trends, Brunswick County Health Services continues to warn people about the perils of assuming the virus only affects those who are older and have health issues, or that they won’t have a serious illness if they get COVID-19.

“This virus affects everyone differently, so we cannot assume we know how our bodies might react if we are exposed to the virus, no matter how young or healthy you are,” Health Services Director Cris Harrelson said. “Even if you do test positive and have little to no symptoms, you and your family, roommates, friends, and other close contacts you were near recently will likely have to quarantine for 14 days and could get sick themselves, sometimes at more severe levels. These are possibilities we need everyone to consider.”

The significant rise in cases among younger residents is not a new trend, as illustrated on Brunswick County’s COVID-19 Dashboard. However, the County continues to see cases identified following social gatherings where little to no efforts are taken to wear face coverings or social distancing—and it continues to cause concern.

“Learn from others’ experiences and make efforts to protect yourself and your loved ones during this crucial time when cases continue to rise,” Harrelson said.

Meanwhile, several other cases involving people in this age range are attributed to their increased exposure to members of the public because they work around a lot of people, such as in restaurants, shops, in construction, or in healthcare/long-term care facilities.

While several people in these professions are already required to wear face coverings, it is important that everyone who also visits these public places wear a face covering as well to ensure both employee and guest are protected from potential asymptomatic spread.

“Wearing a cloth face covering is not about protecting yourself—it is about protecting the people around you or serving you at these businesses,” Harrelson said. “Even if you feel well, you could be carrying the virus. We need people to take the face covering rules to heart to better take control of this pandemic in our communities.”

HERE ARE KEY POINTS ABOUT BRUNSWICK COUNTY’S CURRENT CASE COUNTS:
  • Brunswick County has seen a more than 700% increase in resident cases since early June, with about a 20% increase in the past week (July 10-17)
  • According to the NCDHHS COVID-19 Dashboard statistics on testing, about 7% of all tests in Brunswick County are positive
  • There are 62 positive cases for every 10,000 people in Brunswick County
  • People aged 25 to 49 years old account for 35% of all positive cases to date; cases in this age range have increased by 15% in the past week
  • Minorities continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus. As of June 17:
  • Hospitalizations continue to rise among county resident cases, with an average of about 12 positive resident cases in the hospital over the past week
  • Health Services has reported on five outbreaks at congregate living facilities in the county to date
  • Six more deaths have been reported since July began, bringing the total to 11 residents and two non-resident deaths; some of the most recent deaths are connected to a congregate living facility outbreak
  • While individuals are recovering from COVID-19, the number of active cases has surpassed recoveries since July 8 and cases are currently spread across 384 different households

Here is an overview of how many cases of COVID-19 have been identified so far in our region and state:

County / StateReported Positive Cases as of July 16Percent increase in positive cases (June 2-July 16)Total Positive Cases per 10,000 People (as of July 6)Deaths
North Carolina93,426213%891,588
Brunswick County889708%6211
New Hanover County1,735755%749
Horry County (S.C.)6,2411,257%17675
Columbus County65895%11839
Pender County430431%682

Data is from the NCDHHS case count dashboard and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control case count dashboard.

KEEP THESE THINGS IN MIND
FACE COVERINGS ARE REQUIRED IN PUBLIC PLACES

Governor Roy Cooper has recently issued a face covering requirement in for both employees and guests to wear when visiting public places—both indoor and outdoor—where staying six feet apart from others not in your household is impossible. These public places include retail businesses, restaurants, personal care and grooming sites, child care centers and camps (employees), state government agencies under the Governor’s Cabinet, workers and riders of transportation, workers in construction/trades, manufacturing, agriculture, meat processing, and healthcare and long-term care settings.

Law enforcement would enforce current executive orders. If requests to have either a business employee or guest wear a mask (unless an exception applies) are unmet, you can report the issue with local law enforcement for further guidance. Contact the agency’s non-emergency contact numbers to keep emergency lines via 9-1-1 available for serious medical and health emergencies that require first responders. More guidance about the requirements for use of face coverings and masks is on the NCDHHS website: https://www.nc.gov/covid-19/staying-ahead-curve

While the department cannot enforce the Governor’s executive orders, Brunswick County Environmental Health can provide education for this requirement to restaurant establishments. Please contact Brunswick County Environmental Health at 910-253-2150 to submit a complaint.

SAFER AT HOME PHASE 2 CONTINUES FOR THREE MORE WEEKS

Governor Cooper announced this week that the statewide Phase 2 would be extended for three more weeks beyond this Friday, July 17. It is expected that the Governor will sign a new additional order or amend Executive Order No. 147 by Friday to keep North Carolina paused in Phase 2.

ANSWER THE CALL TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES (CONTACT TRACING)

Through contact tracing, Health Services public nurses and members of the COVID-19 Community Team reach out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and connects them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones.

It is important that people answer the call when the Community Team reaches out. Individuals being contacted will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov with follow-up phone calls from Brunswick County Health Services at 910.253.2250 or from NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223). The Community Team will never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. Any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY CASE DATA

As of Friday, July 17, there are now 902 positive cases of COVID-19 among county residents (405 considered recovered, 475 isolating at 384 different homes, 11 hospitalized, 11 deaths) and 14 cases involving non-residents (1 isolating, 8 considered recovered, 3 transferred monitoring to home county, 2 deaths).

Find the latest information on case counts (including demographic data) on our COVID-19 Dashboard linked on our Latest Information on Coronavirus webpage.

Isolated positive cases pose a low risk to the public as they and any household contacts are isolated or quarantined. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.

Brunswick County has more information about testing, screening sites, and symptoms on its website, including testing sites for both insured and uninsured individuals. These new online tools are also available to help increase access to testing:

  • Check My Symptoms is a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
  • Find My Testing Place is a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online. To view in Spanish, users can select Spanish in the yellow box.

Find links to more information concerning testing in Brunswick County, answers to frequently asked questions, mental health resources, and resources for residents and businesses on our Health Services COVID-19 webpage.