NC Moves to Phase 2 Safer at Home; Chatham County Releases Data Dashboard
On May 20, 2020, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper released Executive Order 141, which transitions the state to "Safer at Home" Phase 2, effective May 22nd at 5:00 p.m. In making the announcement to ease COVID-19 restrictions, Governor Cooper said, “Safer At Home Phase 2 is another careful step forward, and we have to continue taking this virus seriously to prevent a dangerous spike in infections.” The new executive order allows certain businesses that were previously closed to reopen at 50%, including restaurants, barbershops, salons and pools. More information about these changes can be found at www.chathamnc.org/coronavirus.
“Although the move to Phase 2 may lead some to believe the risk of COVID-19 infection is behind us, we are not out of the woods yet,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long. “The state is taking a cautious approach with good reason, and we continue to encourage our community to stay home as much as possible, maintain a safe distance from others, and wear a face covering if you are in public and around others. We know that a spike in cases remains likely if these measures are not taken seriously.”
Important Guidance for Businesses to Safely Reopen
To continue to provide guidance to the Chatham County community and local businesses to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Chatham County partners developed The Chatham County Reopening Your Business: A Guide for Safely Opening and Operating Your Business, which can also be found on the webpage above. The guide provides important recommendations for workplaces specific to their sector, as well as general considerations on topics such as cleaning, social distancing and personal protective equipment.
“We realize residents are eager to get out and about after abiding by the stay-at-home order for several weeks,” said Pittsboro Mayor Jim Nass. “While our local businesses utilize this important operational guide and begin reopening, we advise residents to also keep safety top of mind in reducing the spread of the virus and follow the important guidance of our health director.”
Chatham County COVID-19 Dashboard
The Chatham County Public Health Department has also developed a COVID-19 data dashboard that shows confirmed cases and tests over time. The dashboard will be updated each Friday by 5:00 p.m. and can be found at www.chathamnc.org/coronavirus. Please note that the dashboard shows only confirmed cases, which reflect targeted testing based on settings where high-risk individuals live or outbreaks are suspected. The NC Department of Health and Human Services has also released a revised dashboard at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard, which is updated daily.
While Chatham County responds to COVID-19 and monitors the cases as seen through the dashboard, government offices are making plans for when and how to safely reopen.
“County and municipal leaders and their staffs are all working hard to determine how to ease restrictions so that we can begin interacting with the public more, safely over time,” said Chatham County Commission Chair Karen Howard. “We anticipate that County departments and services will be able to open more broadly as the state reaches Phase 3 of the reopening process.”
It is also important to highlight the great work and generosity of staff, non-profit organizations and community members.
Sharing messages of safety, even in high places, is vitally important to keeping the Chatham County community safe during COVID-19.
On May 21st, Chatham County Environmental Health Director Anne Lowry, along with Chatham County Facilities staff, hung COVID-19 safety banners outside the historic courthouse in downtown Pittsboro.
These dedicated Chatham County staff didn’t let the rain stop them from sharing the important messages in English and Spanish for the public to remember their three Ws when they leave home – wear a face covering, wait six feet apart and wash your hands often.
These stories of kindness show what the Chatham community is all about and are shared regularly at www.chathamnc.org/chathamtogether. Those who live, work or volunteer in Chatham County are encouraged to join the #ChathamTogether movement. Individuals can share the positive ways they are responding to COVID-19 through social media, tag Chatham County’s Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtag #ChathamTogether.