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COVID-19 Cases in Bladen County and Issues with Unemployment

Bladen County Health Department released a COVID-19 (coronavirus) update this afternoon. Currently, Bladen County has one (1) hospitalization, two (2) deaths, 31 recovered/completed, and 26 isolating due to COVID-19 related cases. There are no new cases for today as of noon, according to Dr. Teresa (Terri) Duncan. 

“We offer our condolences to the family. To respect the privacy of the

family, additional information is not available,” Dr. Duncan stated in the press release.

Barber Shops, Salons and Spas are still closed under the Stay at Home Order in NC. Many small business owners have been out of work for over a month. Other companies in Bladen County have also been closed due to the order. 

Today, during a press conference, NC Governor Roy Cooper was asked if there would be a possible move into Phase Two of re-opening NC before the expected date of May 22. He explained the officials would need to look at the facts over a 14 day period. 

Gov. Cooper said, “I don’t think it can happen any earlier.” 

North Carolina independent contractors and self-employed workers out of work because of COVID-19 were allowed to apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance beginning Friday, April 24, according to NC Employment Security Commission.

Some local business owners have reported difficulties applying for the unemployment benefits. Then, once they spent hours applying for the benefits, the business owners said the checks do not amount to even half of what they usually earn per week.  

One business owner said, “The check was for a little over one hundred dollars.” 

The unemployment insurance system pays temporary assistance to eligible individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. North Carolina has over one million people out of work. 

Anyone needing unemployment assistance may apply for benefits at:

Dr. Duncan reminded Bladen County residents they are vulnerable to getting or spreading the virus. 

She stated, “Bladen and every surrounding county have confirmed cases of COVID-19.”

Symptoms of the virus are as follows: fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms occurring with the virus. The CDC identified new signs for the coronavirus: chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, and a new loss of taste. 

Mental and emotional health is important, too, according to Dr. Mandy Cohen with the NC Department of Health and Human Services. If you need mental health assistance, call Eastpointe at 1-800-513-4002. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the 24/7 hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Dr. Duncan reiterated the three W’s when leaving home:

 Wear a face covering when out in public

 Wait 6 feet from each other

 Wash hands frequently

If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call your health care provider or the Health Department call center: 910-872-6291. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm until further notice. Individuals may also call 2-1-1. This NCDHHS call center is available 24/7 in English and Spanish.

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