COVID -19 Resource Page

We join the chorus of voices that are telling you that there is much uncertainty about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As of March 16th, the County has seen one positive case of COVID-19. The progression of the outbreak and responses to it are, by necessity, ever evolving. However, what is of absolute certainty is Sampson County’s commitment to our mission: protecting the health, safety and welfare of our citizens. To fulfill that mission, we have taken and will continue to take actions, that while they may be inconvenient, are in the best interest of our citizens and our employees and based upon guidance and direction from federal, state and local health officials. We ask for your patience and understanding.
 

We maintaining this resource page that will offer you information on what the County is doing in response to COVID-19 as well as guidance from public health professionals. Please understand that information is subject to change frequently, and with little to no notice.

  • Governor's Executive Order 138 (Phase 1): On May 5th, Governor Cooper modified North Carolina’s Stay At Home Executive Order, transitioning the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 138 goes into on Friday, May 8 at 5 pm. See more details here.
  • Governor's Executive Order 121 (Stay at Home Order):Though we do not have direct answers to some of the many questions, you can read Governor's Executive Order 121 here. Read Frequently Asked Questions here
  • See the County's Declaration of a State of Emergency here.
SAMPSON COUNTY COVID-19 TESTING UPDATE

COVID testing numbers for Sampson County as of May 22, 2020:

  • Total Number of Tests Performed: 1337
  • Positive Test Results: 333 (133 recovered)
  • Negative Test Results: 814
  • Pending Results: 190
  • Deaths: 2
HEALTH DEPARTMENT GUIDANCE

The Sampson County Health Department has also established a direct line for Sampson County residents with COVID-19 health questions. Call (910) 490-1056 between the hours of 8 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

The Sampson County Health Department will continue to provide health care services during this difficult time.  The Health Department will abide by guidelines from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Effective March 23rd, the health department will be operating on a limited basis Monday-Friday, 8-5pm. Patients will be seen by appointment only. The public is encouraged to call before walking in without an appointment.

Clients entering the Health Department will be screened when arriving for services. Children 17 years and under are prohibited from entering the health department until further notice unless they have an appointment.

See the links below for helpful health information:


P-EBT INFORMATION

DEPARTMENT ACCESS GUIDE
Department Access Guide (PDF) (effective March 31, 2020)

Based on the current guidance to minimize the spread of COVID-19, Sampson County departments have adjusted access and operations to protect the health and safety of the public AND county staff. 

Effective March 31, 2020, the only buildings that are open to walk in traffic by the public are Building C (County Administration, Finance, Economic Development and Human Resources) and Building E (Health and Human Services). While these buildings remain open, the public is encouraged to call before coming as many of your questions and service needs can be handled over the phone or online.

All departments are accessible by phone. County staff are making every effort to minimize delays and interruptions as we continue to serve the public during this time; however, to preserve continuity of operations, many employees are working remotely or on staggered shifts. This is an evolving situation and subject to change at any time. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding. 

Here’s a quick listing of our departmental phone numbers (here) and a link to our online services (here).


STATE GUIDANCE REGARDING RESTRICTED OPERATIONS OF RESTAURANTS & BARS:
Public health officials encourage food service operators to contact the Sampson County Health Department if any employee is suspected of having Covid-19. See notice here.

We have been asked to make the public aware of clarification of the state guidance regarding the operation of restaurants and bars in the presence of community spread of the COVID-19 virus. From the Division of Public Health/Environmental Health Section:

"In light of new information today regarding the presence of community spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, local jurisdictions should enforce the more stringent Order of Abatement of Imminent Hazard issued by the Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which states that “seating areas of restaurants and bars constitute an imminent hazard for the spread of COVID-19.” Restaurants shall close all seating areas immediately and bars are directed to close immediately. Restaurants are restricted to carry-out, drive-through, and delivery to ensure food is available while maintaining social distancing. Restaurant staff are not permitted to serve patrons indoors or in the outdoor seating area, and all areas of North Carolina are subject to mass gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines. If a restaurant has outdoor seating, onsite consumption in the outdoor seating area is not permitted pursuant to the Order of Abatement."

Officials will be visiting local restaurants to ensure they are aware of these restrictions.


FARMERS BULK PURCHASES
Click here for the signed letter from NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regarding agricultural workers bulk grocery purchases. Farm owners can access the verification letter here.

STATE GUIDANCE REGARDING MIGRANT FARM WORKERS
(INTERIM GUIDANCE FROM DHHS)
To see state Guidance on Migrant Farm Workers, click here.


GET THE FACTS, NOT MISINFORMATION - GENERAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19

  Preventative Measures You Should Take:
 
  • Follow the CDC guidance for keeping yourself and others healthy: See here.
  • Are you in a high-risk population? Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself. Here’s a quick guide for you.
  • The CDC recommends “social distancing”. Here’s what that means: remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
The Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has provided the following two informational videos that are ASL/captioned:


Event Cancellations/Postponements
In compliance with the Governor’s prohibition on mass gatherings that bring together persons in a single room or single space at a time, our public events and programs have been canceled or postponed.
 
  • Sampson County Parks and Recreation has suspended its Baseball and Softball season along with all other sports activities, including  all assessments, workouts, skill development, practices and contests, until further notice.
  • All events scheduled to be held at the Sampson County Exposition Center are cancelled through Sunday, June 28, 2020.
  • The April 4, 2020  meeting of the Sampson County Board of Commissioners will be transmitted via Facebook Live. Follow our Facebook page: @sampsoncounty

OPERATING ADJUSTMENTS
Changes are tough, but our guiding principle in making tough decision about operational changes is that we need to protect both our citizens (especially those in high risk categories) and our employees. With that in mind, some of our services (and our partner agencies) have been adjusted. Anyone needing services from Sampson County offices should call prior to arrival to get the most updated information on closures, operating procedures, and provided services. 

Women, Infant, and Children (WIC)
The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office will continue to serve clients while protecting the health of WIC participants. If you or anyone in your family has a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, please call us at (910) 592-1131 to reschedule your appointment. If you have a scheduled appointment or need to make an appointment, please call us at (910) 592-1131 before coming into the office. You may also be able to complete your WIC appointment over the phone. See attached WIC Program Update, as of March 25, 2020, here.

Environmental Health

Environmental Health Services will operate on a regular schedule but with restrictions. Customers may obtain applications from the county website here. Citizens will need to contact the health department on how to submit applications.

Staff will continue to perform duties such as checking lots, water samples, etc. Food and Lodging section will continue to perform their inspections for compliance for all food handling facilities on a daily basis as needed. 

Please be patient with us as we try to provide services in a timely manner. Please contact the Environmental Health Office if you have any questions or need assistance, at (910) 592-4675.

Sampson County Fire Marshal Office

The Sampson County Fire Marshal Office will perform inspections per COVID-19 event guidance provided by the Chief State Fire Marshal. Thus, fire inspections will be primarily limited to those for life safety matters.

Aging Department

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak nutrition sites and senior centers will be closed to congregate participants starting Thursday, March 19, 2020 until further notice. At this time, home delivered meals will continue to be delivered to those participants as normal. The Adult Day Health Care is closed.

Register of Deeds

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the declaration of local, state, and national emergency, this is notification the Register of Deeds Office will be taking the following steps to restrict access to the public since receiving confirmation of COVID-19 in Sampson County!

  1. Effective March 23, 2020 the office will be closed to the public until further notice.
  2. All submitters are urged to use our electronic recording system for recording documents.
  3. The office will accept regular mail-in recordings, as well as overnight deliveries via FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.
  4. The public is urged to use our website to process requests for copies of birth, death, and marriage records.  If internet availability is a problem, the customer may mail in a written request for copies. The request must contain the type or record requested (birth, death, or marriage certificate), name of the individual on the record, relationship to the individual (self, parent, child, etc.), a return address, and a signature of the requestor. Request may be mailed to: Sampson County Register of Deeds, 126-A W. Elizabeth Street, Clinton, N.C. 28328.
  5. Notaries wanting to take their oath of office, couples wanting to obtain a marriage license, have all been postponed until further notice. Veterans wanting to record their discharge papers (DD214) will need to call Ann Knowles at Veterans Affairs, (910) 592-2862.

  6. A drop lock box has been installed for attorneys, surveyors, funeral homes, etc., to leave deeds, documents or plats to be recorded. You will be notified when they are ready, or they will be mailed back to you.

  7. There will be no walk throughs by funeral homes.  All documents must come to this office by way of mail.

Soil and Water Conservation Services

In accordance with Federal Government USDA Departmental Administrative Guidance, Sampson Soil & Water Conservation will be closed to the general public effective Friday, March 20, 2020. To conduct business via phone or reach essential staff, please call (910) 592-7963 ext 3.

Social Services
See a detailed document providing more information and guidance on operations here.

NCDHHS Press Release: Families to Receive Enhanced Benefits to Ensure Food Access. See press release here.

Beginning April 1, The NCDHHS will be temporarily increasing benefits for March 2020 and April 2020 to current Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recipients in North Carolina. All families that receive FNS will receive the maximum amount allowed for March 2020 and April 2020 for their household size. For example, a family of four would be eligible to receive a total of $646 for each of the two months regardless of their usual benefit amount. The increase is subject to the guidelines noted in the press release.  FOR INFORMATION ON THESE BENEFITS CALL: 1-888-622-7328 or VISIT www.ebtedge.com and click on More Information for EBT Cardholders.

As a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19), certain program requirements have changed at DSS. Assistance including Food and Nutrition Services, Energy, Medicaid, Childcare and Child Support may not require an office visit. You may call the Agency at 910-592-7131 or utilize available online services linked on this website. DSS also has an outside drop box available for those who may not need to enter the Agency and there are public computers with internet service available as needed for any visitors.

CHILD CARE SERVICES FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS

If you are an essential worker of COVID-19 Essential Businesses and Operations (as defined in the Governor’s Executive Order 121) and are in need of emergency child care because of COVID-19 closures, there are a number of resources available to ensure that your children are safe and taken care of. See this link: https://ncchildcare.ncdhhs.gov/Whats-New/Coronavirus-Information-for-Child-Care/covid-19-parent-application-for-financial-assistance-for-emergency-child-care

Sampson Area Transportation
Effective immediately, Sampson Area Transportation will limit transportation to those which are medically necessary or for employment. Clients will be notified. Precautions will be taken to protect the health of clients that may be high risk due to age or underlying medical conditions, including increased sanitation of transportation vehicles and screening questions for symptomatic individuals to identify those with potential exposure to COVID-19.

Sampson County Public Works
Sampson County Ceases Water Cutoffs During COVID-19 Pandemic
In compliance with State Executive Order 124, and effective March 31 and for a minimum of 60 days thereafter:

Sampson County Public Works will not disconnect any residential customer for non-payment of their bill for this time period.

Residential customers will not have to pay any penalties if they do not pay their water bill during this period.

Sampson County Public Works will propose a 6-month repayment plan for residential bills not paid during this time period. Please remember, however, that you are still responsible for paying for the water you use, so payments on your account, even small ones, are important! Your water costs are only deferred, not forgiven.

Understanding the need for clean water to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Sampson County ceased cutoffs prior to the March 31 date.
If you have concerns regarding your water bill, please contact them at (910) 592-0188.

Sampson County Public Libraries
Sampson County Public Libraries will be closed to the general public beginning Wednesday, March 18th through March 31st.  If you have questions or concerns regarding your library account, some essential staff can be reached by calling the J.C. Holliday branch, (910) 592-4153, from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm each day. Patrons are encouraged to use the book drop box for returning borrowed materials; however, fines and fees will be discontinued during this closure.

Sampson County Cooperative Extension
The Cooperative Extension office has provided citizens with a resource page, here.

Sampson County Schools/Clinton City Schools/Sampson Community College
Decisions and updated information for our educational partners can be found at the following links:
 
Sampson Regional Medical Center
Pertinent information regarding visitor restrictions and patient services. 

Veterans Office

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and state/federal/local guidance to minimize its spread, the Sampson County Veterans Office will be closed to the public effective March 23, 2020 and until future notice. Please call (910) 592-2862 to speak with staff regarding your needs. We regret any inconvenience as we seek to serve you while respecting public health guidance to keep you and our staff safe and preserve continuity of services.

Sampson County Courts
Notice will be posted at all court facilities directing any person who has likely been exposed to COVID-19 to not enter the courthouse. Any person who has likely been exposed and has business before the courts should contact the Clerk of Superior Court’s office by telephone at (910) 596-6630 or other remote means for further instruction.
 
For information on court closures, go to NCcourts.gov.