Hertford County declares State of Emergency

Published 5:50 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

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Hertford County declared a State of Emergency as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 19.

At this time, the State of Emergency stipulates expectations of County staff. There are no further restrictions, such as a curfew or prohibiting the sale of alcohol, being placed on the community.

The declaration, signed by Ronald Gatling, chairman of the Hertford County Commissioners, says, in part, “control measures could be place in effect immediately to implement plans for the prevention of, preparation for, response to and recovery from any and all emergency situations that may result from the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. These control measures will be coordinated with federal, state and local agencies for the orderly protection, treatment, and rehabilitation of affected persons.”

Hertford County officials said as of 5 pm on Thursday there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county.

The State of Emergency will remain in place until rescinded.

Friday morning, Hertford County Emergency Management Director Chris Smith sent out a spreadsheet that listed local priorities, to include protecting public health – especially those of the most vulnerable populations (the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions); minimizing public disruption to the extent possible while also preventing future spread of COVID-19; and continue to provide essential public health services and essential governmental services.

On Friday afternoon, North Carolina officials – to include Emergency Management and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – conducted an online press conference.

Information gained from that conference included there were 137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 38 counties. There is one confirmed case of “community transmission” – meaning the person had not traveled to a known area of infection.

It was noted that all 115 public school districts statewide are serving meals to schoolchildren, either by pick-up or some method of delivery.

Childcare facilities across the state are weighing their options to remain open. The state has sent those facilities a list of safety guidelines to follow as it relates to COVID-19, to include proper sanitization/disinfection methods.

As of Friday, there is no state mandated order for North Carolina residents to shelter in place, nor is there an order to close non-essential businesses.

Mike Sprayberry, Director of North Carolina Emergency Management, encouraged state residents not to purchase items in excess.

“Our grocery stores/supermarkets are open and our supply chain is not broken,” Sprayberry said. “There is a lot of bad information out there, especially on social media. I would recommend for all of our citizens to get their information from a trusted source, to include DHHS and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).”

He added that a limited number of North Carolina National Guard troops will be activated to help with logistics.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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