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Polk County Health and Human Services Agency ends quarantine order, request to cease short-term rentals

As Polk County begins to look forward to a new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, county officials are reviewing ways the community can remain safe once stay-at-home executive orders from Governor Roy Cooper are lifted.

The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) issued a quarantine order for all returning travelers to Polk who had either returned from a U.S. hotspot recognized by the Center for Disease Control or who had traveled in the last 14 days outside the country. Those impacted by the quarantine order were asked to remain in their residence in the county for 14 days.

The quarantine order is set to expire April 30, 2020. In addition, in collaboration with Polk County Emergency Management and Polk HHSA, a request to cease all short-term rentals was issued and is also set to expire April 30, 2020.

“At this time, Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge and I have determined that the next course of action is to let the existing quarantine order and short-term rental request to expire,” said Joshua Kennedy, Polk County Health and Human Services Director. “However, we will still recommend that those who have traveled outside the U.S. to a CDC-designated COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days or a known U.S. CDC-recognized hotspot to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival back to Polk County.

“We do not take this action lightly and it is our expectation that individuals would be responsible about their actions. For us to succeed in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we must adapt. We will continue to monitor the number of cases and outcomes in Polk County, surrounding areas, and through contact tracing determine if we need to take additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

COVID-19 continues to prove to be a highly contagious respiratory disease. Without a vaccine or other proven treatment the mitigation efforts and swift containment through testing remain the primary tools to slow the spread.

Local health officials and the CDC recommend “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” to help prevent spreading COVID-19 from you to others.

Even asymptomatic (those without symptoms) individuals can spread COVID-19. In addition, health officials continue to suggest social distancing, remaining home when sick and using good hand/respiratory hygiene.

Polk County Health and Human Services Agency urges all residents to take measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus:

• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

For more information about the coronavirus and to read the latest guidance on keeping yourself and others safe, visit www.polknc.org, www.ncdhhs.org or call the Polk County Message Line 828-722-5086.

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