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NC calls in National Guard for supply runs

‘Right now, we’re not issuing a shelter in place order,’ says NCEM director

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The U.S. Army National Guard has been called in to assist with getting personal protective equipment to agencies in need of it throughout the state. The number of reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases climbed past 160 in North Carolina on Friday — 17 days after the first positive test was reported.

At least two of the cases stem from community spread, according to Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, state health director and chief medical officer for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Four of the cases — including the first one reported in Harnett County — have led to hospitalizations.

“Right now, we’re not issuing a shelter in place order or additional closure of businesses,” N.C. Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said at a briefing Friday. “This is an evolving situation and any changes will be based on what’s happening in North Carolina and what’s best for public health.”

Positive test results for COVID-19 had been reported in 38 of North Carolina’s 100 counties as of Friday morning.

“We’re making plans to activate a small number of our National Guard soldiers, who will serve in a logistical capacity helping with warehousing and transportation of supplies and equipment,” Sprayberry said.

“They’re going to be working on logistics and transportation as we get personal protective [equipment] in. They’ll receive it, inspect it and then make distribution of it,” he added.

Public health and emergency officials are asking people to fight the urge to buy in bulk.

“We continue to see food staples being bought up quickly,” Sprayberry said. “Please resist the urge to buy in excess. Grocery stores will remain open and there is not a food shortage. There’s adequate material in the supply chain to our grocery stores. Stores will be able to catch up and keep shelves stocked if everyone limits purchases to what they need and if buying in excessive quantities is avoided.”

He advised North Carolinians to call North Carolina’s 211 for help in answering questions and finding assistance when it comes to COVID-19.

“If you want to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also receive information by text,” Sprayberry said. “Just text COVID 19 to 898211 to get regular information updates via text. More than 20,000 people are already signed up and receiving regular text updates from 211.”