Brunswick County officials have ended the county’s yearlong COVID-19 state of emergency.
County Chairman Randy Thompson terminated the state of emergency effective 9 a.m. Monday. Previous chairman Frank Williams issued the state of emergency March 24, 2020, in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
“While we still need to remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent future spread of COVID-19, the improvements we are seeing in our recent case counts and vaccination rates are the most encouraging signs we’ve seen for a year now,” Thompson said in a statement. “Just as we do following every hurricane or major storm, the time has come for us to begin our recovery efforts for both public health and our local economy.”
There have been 286 cases identified the first two weeks of March, significantly fewer than during the peak in the first two weeks of January when 1,038 cases were identified, according to the county. To date, Brunswick County Health Services has identified more than 8,400 positive cases among residents, with 141 deaths related to the virus and more than 8,000 considered recovered.
“I extend my greatest sympathies to those in our county who are still grieving the loss of a loved one from this terrible disease,” Thompson said. “My thoughts are with those who have endured so much this past year.”
Brunswick County Health Services and its partners at Novant Health and Dosher Memorial Hospital, as well as other vaccine providers in the county, have helped vaccinated nearly 30% of residents with their first dose and nearly 20% with their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine over the past several weeks.
“The commissioners and I cannot thank nor commend our health, public safety, and community partners at the local and state levels enough for the service and support they have offered throughout this pandemic,” Thompson said. “They truly are the reason that we have come so far already, and will be an essential part of our recovery efforts moving forward.”
Brunswick County has not issued additional restrictions under the state of emergency or throughout the pandemic that extend beyond Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders and directives.
The governor’s executive orders still remain in effect in Brunswick County, including the following:
- A face covering is still required in all public indoor settings if there are non-household members present, regardless of the individual’s ability to maintain social distance.
- Face coverings continue to be required in public outdoor settings if individuals are unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance from non-household members.
- The capacity limitations on certain businesses, sanitation standards, other public health restrictions and state Department of Health and Human Services guidance remain in effect.
- The state’s mass gathering limit allows for a maximum of 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
- North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent continues until March 31.
- The authorization of delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption until at least March 31.
Brunswick County said it would continue education and guidance on best health practices related to COVID-19 and begin plans to use local funding from the American Rescue Plan after receiving official instructions from the federal government as to eligible uses of the funds and the first allocation in the coming weeks.
Brunswick County continues to encourage residents and visitors to use the county’s online services, phone or email when possible to conduct business, especially if someone is at a higher risk of illness and is not fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
More information about COVID-19, testing, and vaccines is on the Health Services COVID-19 webpage.