March 21, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: COVID-19 Burke County Media Briefing
Burke County’s Response to COVID-19
• To date, there are no positive cases in Burke County
• The health department has tested approximately 47 individuals with continual daily testing as testing materials are available
• Of those 47, 41 results have been received and all tests have returned negative
• Public information line has been opened Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm for those with questions can call 828-764-9388. After hours, general questions can be directed to NC Public Information Line at 1-866-462-3821
Since there is confirmed community spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 in North Carolina, it is becoming increasingly important to reduce the number of people gathering. Governor Cooper issued an Executive Order that prohibits the mass gatherings of 100 people or more. The Centers for Disease Control has issued a recommendation that for the next 8 weeks, people should cancel or postpone in person events of 50 people or more to help reduce the potential spread of this infection. It is also recommended that everyone practice social distancing and remain at least 6 feet or more away from others. Prevention is always the best medicine. Below are a few other prevention measures that can be done to help reduce the spread of this infection and others within the community:
• Wash your hands with soap and water often. Wash for AT LEAST 20 seconds especially after being in a public place or blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If you do not have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and cover all surfaces of your hands and rub together until dry. Do not touch your face (eyes, nose or mouth) with hands that have not been washed
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and others (at least 6 ft) to minimize the spread of COVID-19 within a community
• Stay at home if you are sick to reduce the spread of any infections
• Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then promptly throw in the trash and then wash your hands with soap and water. Pretend to be a vampire and pull the inside of your elbow to your mouth when you cough or sneeze unless your arm is not covered by clothing then it is best to cough or sneeze into tissues.
• Wear a face mask if you are sick, especially if you are going to be around other people. If you are not sick, you DO NOT need to wear a mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick, and they are not able to wear a mask. It is not necessary for well people to wear masks and could put you at a higher risk of getting sick with something by putting on and taking off masks regularly.
• Clean and disinfect commonly touched areas often like tables, doorknobs, handles, light switches, faucets, etc.
Below are links for information about gatherings from NC and CDC. NC Information on Gatherings:
NC Information on Public Facing Businesses and Agencies:
CDC Information on Community Gatherings/Large Events:
Update from NC Department of Health and Human Services for Restaurants and Bars Regarding Outdoor Eating at Establishments:
Eating outdoors at restaurants/bars is now not allowed pursuant to the Executive Order 118 and the Order of Abatement. See new information below:
As you know, guidance associated with COVID-19 is subject to change since we learn more every day. Today there was a change in the status of disease transmission that affects the enforcement of public health control measures.
In light of new information today regarding the presence of community spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, local jurisdictions should enforce the more stringent Order of Abatement of Imminent Hazard issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which states that “seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19.” Restaurants shall close all seating areas immediately and bars are directed to close immediately. Restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure food is available while maintaining social distancing. Restaurant staff are not permitted to serve patrons indoors or in the outdoor seating area, and all areas of North Carolina are subject to mass gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines. If a restaurant has outdoor seating, onsite consumption in the outdoor seating area is not permitted pursuant to the Order of Abatement.
Local law enforcement agencies and district attorneys are generally responsible for enforcement of the Order (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.30(a)(2)) and the Order of Abatement. Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 130A-18 and 130A-25, failure to comply with the Order of Abatement issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services may result in injunctive relief against the establishment in question or prosecution for a misdemeanor offense. Violations of the Order are subject to prosecution pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 166A-19.30(d) and are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor in accordance with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-288.20A.
The following is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) for Executive Order No. 118 and Order of Abatement:
Update from Burke Recovery:
• All group sessions have been cancelled and clients will receive counseling services via telehealth.
• For now, assessments will continue in person with an adherence to social distancing protocol.
• Every person entering the facility will be screened and if necessary, rescheduled.
• Flynn Recovery Community will no longer be open to outside visitors, unless arranged on an
individual basis directly through the Program Coordinator. All recovery support group meetings
normally held on the property have been moved elsewhere.
Update from Queen Street Club Recovery Support Group Meetings:
All meetings are still occurring as scheduled and social distancing protocol is being followed.
Update from United Healthcare (UHC)
All UHC community events are cancelled for the month of March and probably will be for April as well but updated information will be sent out.
Update from Burke United Christian Ministries (BUCM):
To adhere to the recommendations regarding the Covid-19 Virus, BUCM will
follow the procedures below UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE:
Client Check In Procedure
Starting Monday, March 16, clients will be required to remain in the lobby for services regarding food
pick up. Clients will check in at the window, sign documentations and when their food box is ready proceed to their car for pickup. Clients will then proceed to the stop sign and stay in their car while staff or volunteers bring their food.
Pantry-There will be NO shopping in the food pantry until further notice.
The majority of our clients will receive USDA only. Pantry workers will get carts ready with USDA items. A Pantry worker will then walkie the front desk to inform the client to pull their car to the stop sign and stay in the car. A staff member will bring the food to the vehicle. If the social worker notes that poundage or baby food is needed by the family, a pantry worker will do the shopping for the client.
NCDA&CS FDD has approved for meals to be prepared and distributed to participants via carry out plates versus the traditional congregate feeding in a group setting. Volunteers will not have contact with clients and will only cook and plate meals into to-go boxes. Staff will oversee distribution of meals starting Monday 16. Homeless individuals will be allowed to eat their meal at the picnic tables. All others will be asked to take their meal home.
There will be no evening meals. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday’s clients will be given two (2) to-go meals.
200 Avery Avenue - P.O. Box 219 - Morganton, NC 28680-0219
County Manager: (828) 764-9350 ~ Clerk to the Board: (828) 764-9354 ~ www.burkenc.org
Johnnie W. Carswell, Chair
Scott Mulwee, Vice Chair
Wayne F. Abele, Sr., Commissioner
Jeffrey C. Brittain, Commissioner
Maynard M. Taylor, Commissioner
Kenneth B. Steen, County Manager
Kay H. Draughn, Clerk to the Board
J. R. Simpson, II, County Attorney
Kania Law Firm, P.A., Tax Attorney
Until further notice, only homeless individuals will receive clothing assistance through a to-go service.
Crisis Financial Assistance
Crisis Financial Assistance will be handled over the phone to prevent contact between staff and clients.
Will be discontinued until further notice.
Saved for You Clothing Store
BUCM will continue to accept donations until further notice. In effort to keep everyone safe, non-food donations will not be sorted and only stored until further notice. The store will remain open until further notice.
Your safety is our TOP Priority. If you feel that it is in your best interest to not volunteer
at this time, we understand and respect your decision. If you are going to discontinue volunteering during this time, please notify the agency. The Board of Directors and staff of BUCM are taking every precaution to keep everyone safe. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Alice Horton, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Update from Burke County United Way:
The Burke County United Way office currently remains open with some staff in office and some working remotely. We encourage persons wanting to stop by the office to call first to ensure someone is there to receive them.
• We will continue to field calls and access email and voicemail.
• We maintain contact with state emergency management to stay updated on COVID-19.
• We encourage the use of 2-1-1 to call for assistance and resources related to COVID-19.
If citizens would like to receive general developments, they should sign up for 211’s text
alerts by texting COVIDNC to 898211.
We urge that all our partner agencies as well as community nonprofits to update their NC211 profile with current information about their services during this time.
• Visit our website at bcuw.org or call our office at 828-433-0681 for more information.
• Staff email:
o Maureen “Mo” Schwind, Executive Director – firstname.lastname@example.org
o Charles Conley, Manager of Operations – email@example.com
o Abigail Taylor, Marketing/Administrative Professional – firstname.lastname@example.org