Robeson County leaders say ‘not to panic’ amid COVID-19 preps


LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Leaders in Robeson County say they’ve been preparing for the novel coronavirus for several weeks now.

“We’ve been meeting with several different stakeholders in the county,” county spokesperson Emily Jones said. “They have been meeting very often in preparation since the governor did declare a state of emergency yesterday.”

Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina Tuesday in response to COVID-19. So far, the state has seven presumptive positive cases. They are awaiting verification from the CDC.

“When the governor does those emergency declarations, it allows the counties that are impacted- they can apply for federal funds and state funds,” Jones explained.

We asked Tracy Jones- epidemiology nurse and supervisor for the Robeson County Health Department- what that funding could potentially help the county with.

“Lots of times it’s used to help with PPE, and that’s personal protective equipment,” Jones said. So masks, gloves, gowns, face masks, goggles, things like that.”

Jones also said the county is in the process of ordering testing kits, although it’s not yet clear when they will come in.

“There are some commercial tests available now through some of the commercial lab companies,” Jones said. “But again they’re asking providers to follow the guidance and recommendations for who do they need to test and not just giving tests to everyone who wants one. They really want folks to be symptomatic.”

Robeson County does not have any cases at this point.

Leaders say residents shouldn’t panic, but instead follow some precautions.

“We are telling our citizens not to panic,” Emily Jones said. “To not go out and just buy things but be aware of hygiene as far as keeping your hands clean.”

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