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In a live video Wednesday morning, Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell immediately put some community fears to rest: The county is not considering a shelter in place order or closing borders to the county at this time.


Hundreds of people watched a live video of updates from Onslow County government on Wednesday morning, during which Russell, Onslow County Health Department Community Relations Officer Victoria Reyes, Onslow Emergency Services Director Norman Bryson, Onslow Sheriff Hans Miller, and Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Col. Chris Thomas.


Russell began the call confirming that though other counties around North Carolina have announced mandates closing borders or sheltering in place, Onslow County is not considering that at this time.



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"That is not something that the Onslow County Board of Commissioners is considering," Russell said. "It is simply not feasible in Onslow County."


However, Russell noted the county does not know if any additional orders will be coming from the state level.


She also asked the community to remember Onslow County did not make the decisions to close businesses due to COVID-19, but they are enforcing those orders from the state. That includes the order that closes down entertainment businesses, salons, gyms, and other businesses Wednesday at 5 p.m.


Guidance from the state is changing daily, Russell said, and the county has a full-time job keeping up with those changes.


"We don’t have all the answers," Russell said. "Your safety is our No. 1 priority."


The county has also reached out to area churches and nonprofits who are willing to serve as distribution sites to hand out groceries to those in need, specifically those who are out of work due to COVID-19, according to Russell.


Those interested in donating are asked to bring nonperishable items to the Onslow County Senior Services Center, located at 4024 Richlands Hwy in Jacksonville. For more information, call the senior center at 910-455-2747.


Russell said there have been more than 80 negative COVID-19 results as of Wednesday morning, and Reyes reminded the community that isolation is the best way to move forward. Most people who contract COVID-19 will recover without medical attention, and those with mild symptoms, like a fever and cough without shortness of breath, are asked to stay home.


The county’s citizen phone bank to help answer COVID-19 related questions can be reached at 910-989-5027. The number to call for the state is 1-888-850-2684. Russell said the Onslow County Health Department also has an assessment phone bank where a group of employees are checking in on those within the community who have pending test results.


"Please stay home if you are sick," Reyes asked. "What’s important right now is to continue to isolate."


There are three questions those with symptoms must answer before returning to life as normal, according to Reyes.



Has it been at least seven days since your last symptoms were showing?
Have you been without a fever, without using any fever-reducing medication, for 72 hours?
Have your other symptoms improved?

Those who are able to answer yes to all of the above are able to return to life as normal.


"We can’t control everything … but we do need to focus on what we can do," Russel said.


Watch the full video below.