Editor’s note: The following is a roundup of Thursday’s COVID-19-related developments across the region.
The city of Elizabeth City has closed Mariners’ Wharf and Waterfront Park marinas indefinitely in response to the COVID-19 virus.
According to a city press release, no vessel of any kind will be allowed to dock or stay at either marina until further notice.
The dock closings do not affect the boat ramp, City Manager Rich Olson said. Local boaters will still be able to launch their boats from the ramp for now, he said.
The closings are directly related to the ongoing state of emergency for the city issued by Mayor Bettie Parker on March 17, the release states. Police Chief Eddie Buffaloe, the city’s harbormaster, will enforce the new restriction.
Food Bank gets grant
Food Bank of the Albemarle has received $22,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation to address food relief in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The food bank said in a press release the Duke Energy Foundation grant will be used to fund hunger relief for K-12 students and their families by providing food boxes and other food distribution to families in need.
The Duke Energy Foundation recently pledged $250,000 to Feeding the Carolinas, the network of food banks, which includes Food Bank of the Albemarle, that serve and address hunger in all 100 North Carolina counties.
“We are thankful for the leadership and financial gift by Duke Energy,” said Liz Reasoner, Food Bank of the Albemarle’s executive director. “They recognize how critical it is to supply nutritious food to families and seniors during this unprecedented time.”
Reasoner said the food bank is currently addressing the hunger needs of an estimated 52,900 people.
WIC program changes
In-person office visits are temporarily not being required to apply for the federal supplemental nutrition program that helps women, infants and children.
Albemarle Regional Health Services announced Thursday that because of the COVID-19 outbreak, clients of the Women, Infants, and Children program can now apply for benefits by phone.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted the N.C. Nutrition Services branch a waiver requiring WIC clients to apply for benefits in person. The WIC program is now accepting applications, completing certifications and issuing benefits by phone, ARHS said. WIC also continues to offer breastfeeding support and supplies as needed.
The WIC program also can now defer certain requirements used to determine nutritional risk, such as height, weight and hemoglobin for a short period of time. ARHS expects the special measures to be in effect in North Carolina through May 31, but cautioned they could change.
WIC is a a federal assistance program of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service that provides for the health care and nutrition of low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under age 5.
For more information about WIC services, contact area county health departments at 338-4440 in Pasquotank, 426-2100 in Perquimans, 338-4460 in Camden, 482-6003 in Chowan, 232-2271 in Currituck, 794-5322 in Bertie, 357-1380 in Gates, and 862-4054 in Hertford.
Sentara drive-thru screenings
Sentara Healthcare has updated its drive-thru screening locations and times as of Thursday.
• Sentara CarePlex Hospital, 3000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Virginia; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Military Circle, 880 N. Military Highway, Norfolk, Virginia; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, 2025 Glenn Mitchell Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sentara also noted that because of the large increase in the number of COVID-19 tests being conducted, included in North Carolina and Virginia, the health care system is seeing longer turnaround times receiving and reporting test results to patients. As of Wednesday, Sentara said it now could take 10 days or longer for a patient to receive test results.
More updates are available at Sentara Healthcare social media channels and on www.sentara.com/coronavirus.