Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

The lead agencies for coronavirus (COVID-19) information are the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and Catawba County Public Health.  Please visit their websites for basic information, guidelines, and recommendations.

 

Catawba County
Public Health
   North Carolina Department of Health
and Human Services (NCDHHS)
   Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)
   COVID-19 Business
Information

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Collections   |   Police   |   Fire   |   Library   |   Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism   |   Public Services   |   Current Status   |   Business Community

 

CITY OPERATIONAL CHANGES AND UPDATES

 

Collections

May 22: Hickory residential utility customers are reminded that Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 124, which regulates billing assistance for residential utility service, is currently set to expire at the end of May.  Residential utility customers will be responsible for paying for all usage and any balances accumulated during the period covered by this executive order.  Those who need to do so may set up a payment arrangement plan by contacting the Collections Division at (828) 323-7424.

April 3: Per Executive Order 124 issued by Governor Cooper on March 31, the City of Hickory will not disconnect residential utility service for non-payment or assess late fees through May 31.  Hickory residential utility customers will be responsible for paying for all usage and, if possible, should continue to pay on their accounts to avoid accumulating large balances.  In accordance with the Order, the City will develop a payment arrangement plan allowing residential customers to pay off any accumulated charges over at least six months.  Payments may be submitted at the drive thru located behind City Hall, through the 24-hour drop box, online at www.HickoryNC.gov, by phone, or by mail.  Please call (828) 323-7424 with any questions.

March 23: For the safety of all customers and City staff, effective March 24, Hickory utility customers are asked to only utilize the drive thru at City Hall for making regular utility payments.  The drive thru will operate on expanded hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Customers may pay by cash, check, or money order at the drive thru window, or submit payments through the 24-hour drop box at the drive thru.  As always, Hickory utility customers may also submit payments online at www.HickoryNC.gov.  The Collections Division on the second floor of City Hall remains open for regular services; however, no utility payments will be accepted at the counter in City Hall.

 

 

Police

May 18: The lobby of Hickory Police Headquarters has been reopened to the public.

May 15: Hickory Police Department is resuming fingerprinting for applicants.  An appointment MUST be made by calling (828) 324-2060 and asking to schedule a fingerprint appointment.

March 25: Until further notice, the lobby of Hickory Police Headquarters will be closed to visitors.  Public copies of police and accident reports can be obtained free of charge by visiting www.hickorypd.net or by calling (828) 324-2060 and providing an email address.  Parking Tickets can be paid online at www.hickorync.rmcpay.com, by placing payments in the City of Hickory Collections drop box or by mailing them to Hickory Police Headquarters – 347 2nd Ave SW, Hickory, NC 28602.  The Magistrate’s office will continue to operate normally at this time.  Hickory Police will have a desk officer on duty throughout all shifts to answer questions and take information and reports by phone when appropriate.

 

 

Fire

March 30: Hickory Fire Department will host virtual Easter egg hunts on its Facebook page the week of April 6-10.

March 19: Hickory Fire Department personnel will share fire prevention tips, behind-the-scenes demonstrations of firefighting equipment, book readings, and available online resources for families through its Facebook page.

 

 

Library

May 22: Beginning Tuesday, May 26, Hickory Public Library will expand services to provide limited computer access at both branches Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Patrick Beaver Memorial Library will have seven computers available, and the Ridgeview Branch will have five computers.  Patrons will be limited to 1-hour sessions.  Library To-Go pickup service will continue to be offered for checking out library materials.  Until further notice, Hickory libraries will only be open to the public for limited computer access and Library To-Go pickup service.

April 2: Hickory Public Library’s popular “Library To-Go” pickup service for library books, music, and movies will start being offered at the Ridgeview Branch on Friday, April 3.  Pickup service will be available at the Ridgeview Branch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  The service allows patrons to request holds on materials through their online library accounts and over the phone by dialing (828) 304-0500.  Items will be packed and ready to pick up by 10 a.m. on the next scheduled pickup day.  Hickory Public Library launched the new Library To-Go service on March 23 at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library in response to COVID-19 closures.  Library To-Go pickup service will continue to be available at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

March 30: Hickory Public Library’s “Library To-Go” pickup service will continue at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and will soon be expanded to the Ridgeview Branch Library.  Stay tuned for additional information regarding Library To-Go service at the Ridgeview Branch.

March 19: Starting Monday, March 23, Hickory Public Library will offer “Library To-Go” pickup service for library books, music, and movies between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.  Patrons may request holds on materials through their online library accounts and over the phone by dialing (828) 304-0500.  Items will be packed and ready to pick up by 10 a.m. the following day.  In addition to the new Library To-Go service, Hickory librarians will be filming short story times to post to the library’s Facebook page, Hickory Public Library.  As always, library patrons can also access a wide range of digital resources, including e-books, audiobooks, music, and movies.  Borrowing limits for Hoopla, Kanopy, and the North Carolina Digital Library will be increased while the library is closed.  Those without a Hickory Public Library card can set up a free temporary account online that will allow access to all online resources.  Once the library reopens, patrons can come in and sign up for a full library card.  Library staff is available to answer any questions regarding digital resources, library accounts, and Library To-Go requests by phone from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

March 17: The City of Hickory closed both branches of the Hickory Public Library at 1 p.m.  All Hickory libraries will remain closed until further notice.  Due dates for checked out library materials will be extended.  Hickory Public Library does not charge overdue fines for late materials.  Patrons may return checked out library materials to the outside drop boxes at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Branch Library.

March 13: The City of Hickory suspended all Hickory Public Library and Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism classes, events, and programs that are City-run through the end of March.  

 

 

Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism

May 22: All City of Hickory recreation centers remain closed.  City parks and park restrooms remain open.  Park hours are currently 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.  State social distancing requirements and limitations for mass gatherings must be followed.  Park visitors should maintain at least 6 feet of social distancing from others and limit outdoor gatherings to under 25 people.  Per Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 141, public playground equipment will remain closed for the duration of Phase 2.

March 30: All City events will be suspended through April 30.  This includes the Children’s Easter Egg Hunt previously scheduled for Saturday, April 4, at Henry Fork River Regional Recreation Park.  In lieu of a physical Easter Egg Hunt, Hickory families are invited to participate in Virtual Egg Hunts through the City’s social media channels.  

March 30: City parks and park restrooms will remain open.  Park visitors must comply with state social distancing requirements and limitations for mass gatherings.  Per Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 121, public playground equipment will be closed for the duration of the Order.  In order to simplify park hours for the changing seasons, the Hickory Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Department has adjusted the hours of operation for all City-owned parks.  Effective April 1 through September 30, the new park hours will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.  October 1 through March 31, park hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Please plan your outings accordingly.

March 19: To keep families active and entertained while practicing social distancing, the City’s Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism staff will provide online workout classes for the public via social media.  The classes may include outdoor activities like spin, yoga, and functional training.  Other videos will showcase Hickory’s beautiful park system, educational programs, and demonstrations of kid-friendly games that can be played at home with minimal supplies or equipment.  Follow the City of Hickory Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Facebook page for more details on classes and fun activities.

March 17: The City of Hickory closed Highland Recreation Center and Ridgeview Recreation Center at 1 p.m. All Hickory recreation centers will remain closed until further notice.

March 16: The City of Hickory closed Brown Penn Recreation Center, Westmont Recreation Center, Neill Clark Recreation Center, Westmont Senior Center, and Brown Penn Senior Center, as well as the gymnasiums at Highland and Ridgeview Recreation Centers.

March 14: The City of Hickory postponed its March 17 ribbon cutting for the new artificial turf field at Henry Fork River Regional Recreation Park.  The event will be rescheduled for a future date.  

March 13: The City of Hickory suspended all Hickory Public Library and Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism classes, events, and programs that are City-run through the end of March.  

 

 

Public Services

May 22: Hickory residential utility customers are reminded that Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 124, which regulates billing assistance for residential utility service, is currently set to expire at the end of May.  Residential utility customers will be responsible for paying for all usage and any balances accumulated during the period covered by this executive order.  Those who need to do so may set up a payment arrangement plan by contacting the Collections Division at (828) 323-7424.

April 13: With people staying in their homes more amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Hickory’s Solid Waste Division is experiencing an increase in garbage and recycling collection.  Therefore, it’s an appropriate time to review several important tips to remember on your garbage and recycling day to ensure the best possible service.  Learn more.

April 3: Per Executive Order 124 issued by Governor Cooper on March 31, the City of Hickory will not disconnect residential utility service for non-payment or assess late fees through May 31.  Hickory residential utility customers will be responsible for paying for all usage and, if possible, should continue to pay on their accounts to avoid accumulating large balances.  In accordance with the Order, the City will develop a payment arrangement plan allowing residential customers to pay off any accumulated charges over at least six months.  Payments may be submitted at the drive thru located behind City Hall, through the 24-hour drop box, online at www.HickoryNC.gov, by phone, or by mail.  Please call (828) 323-7424 with any questions.

April 3: As an additional precautionary step against the spread of COVID-19, customers are asked to bring exact change when coming to pick up either mulch or compost.  Leaf compost is $5 per 3-yard scoop and mulch is $10 per 3-yard scoop.  To further minimize any contact, a manned drop box will be available for directly submitting funds.

March 20: Did you know that 60 percent of all sanitary sewer overflows are related to customers flushing items that should not be flushed?  In order to protect the City’s sewer system, citizens are reminded that toilet paper should be the only product flushed down toilets. Any paper product other than toilet paper does not break down or degrade as it travels through the sewer system. This includes paper towels, tissues, napkins, and “flushable” wipes.  These materials continue to stay in their current forms, collecting grease, hair, and other debris until creating a mass and clogging the sewer system. This could be on the City’s main line or in the customer’s home plumbing.  The City of Hickory thanks residents in advance for being mindful of these issues and working together to prevent undue burdens on the sewer system and Public Utilities staff during these already difficult times.  If you have any question about what can be put into the sewer system, please call Public Utilities at (828) 323-7427.

March 17: Due to the unexpected increase in people being home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the City of Hickory Solid Waste Division is anticipating an increase in the amount of yard waste and junk collection.  While we understand that this may be the perfect time to clean yards and debris, this could put a strain on the City’s collection schedule.  Your patience during this time will be greatly appreciated.  Updates will continue as necessary.

 

 

CURRENT STATUS

City of Hickory

May 1: In the interest of public safety and in accordance with the state’s plan for a three-phased reopening amid the current pandemic, the City of Hickory has decided to postpone the Sails Original Music Series scheduled for May and June, as well as the City’s 150th “Sesquicentennial” celebrations planned for June 4-7. The Swinging Under the Stars event, presented by the Hickory Music Factory and sponsored by the City of Hickory, will also be postponed from the May 24 date.  The new dates for these events will be announced soon. 

March 30: All City events will be suspended through April 30.

March 20: Hickory Mayor Hank Guess released a video message regarding COVID-19.  View the video.

March 18: Boards and commissions meetings suspended until further notice.  The two exceptions will be Hickory City Council meetings and Hickory Regional Planning Commission meetings, since these are statutory boards.  Special precautions will be taken to safeguard people at these meetings.

March 16: All gatherings in City facilities and on City property must be limited to under 50 people. 

 

Catawba County

NEW CASES TODAY TOTAL CASES NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS RECOVERED CURRENT HOSPITALIZATIONS DEATHS
9 217 2,184 86 5 7

[ UPDATED: 5/30/20 ] Case numbers are based on test results. Not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so this does not represent the total number of people who have or had COVID-19.

April 23: Catawba County Public Health Director Jennifer McCracken information about contact tracing and how it works. Learn more.

April 7: Catawba County Public Health Director Jennifer McCracken provided answers to common coronavirus questions.  View the FAQs.

April 3: Catawba County Public Health reported the first COVID-19 associated death in Catawba County.  

March 20: Catawba County reported its first positive case of COVID-19. Learn more.

March 18: Catawba County Board Chair Randy Isenhower declared a State of Emergency in Catawba County at 8:00 a.m. March 18, 2020, due to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.  The declaration covers the entire area of Catawba County and was made by and with the consent of all municipalities within Catawba County.  The declaration enables Catawba County to implement coordinated countywide response efforts in alignment with the Catawba County Emergency Operations Plan, municipal plans, and other relevant plans in collaboration with municipalities, community organizations and emergency response partners.

 

North Carolina

May 20: Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 141, which lifts the statewide Stay At Home Order and moves North Carolina into a Safer At Home Phase 2 of easing certain COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, May 22, at 5 p.m. Learn more. Read the FAQs. Interim Guidance for Phase 2.

May 5: Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 138 for North Carolina to enter Phase 1 of its three-phased reopening plan at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 8.  During Phase 1, the Stay at Home Order remains in place with some modifications to ease restrictions on travel, business operations, and mass gatherings.  Phase 1 will remain in effect until May 22.  Learn more.  Read the FAQsBusiness guidance and resources for Phase 1.

May 4: Governor Cooper signed two COVID-19 relief bills into law - Senate Bill 704 and House Bill 1043 Learn more

April 23: Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 135, extending North Carolina's Stay at Home Order (Executive Order 121) as well as other orders regarding the closures of restaurants for dine-in service, bars, and other close-contact businesses until May 8. 

April 15: The state's plan for Staying Ahead of the Curve, which would eventually ease some COVID-19 restrictions while still protecting against a second wave of the virus, depends on making progress in three areas: testing, tracing, and trends. Learn More.

April 9: Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 131 that requires new social distancing policies at open retail stores, mandatory protective measures for nursing homes, and additional measures that will get more unemployment claims processed faster.  Read the FAQs.

April 8: Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 130, providing more access to health care beds, expanding the pool of health care workers, and ordering essential childcare services for workers responding to the crisis.

March 31: Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 124, directing utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibiting them from collecting fees, penalties, or interest for late payment.  To learn more, read the FAQs.

March 30: Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 122 to help schools and local governments access state surplus property to help bridge gaps during the response to COVID-19. The Order also provides transfer or donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) that state government may have and not need.

March 27: Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121, announcing a statewide Stay at Home Order beginning Monday, March 30, at 5 p.m. until April 29, 2020.  The Executive Order directs people to stay at home except to visit essential businesses, to exercise outdoors, or to help a family member.  Specifically, the order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to physically stay at least six feet apart from others.  Read the press release and the FAQs in English and Spanish.

March 25: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the first COVID-19 associated deaths.  Learn more.

March 23: Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 120,  expanding the list of public places he was ordering closed, lowering the limit for the number of people at public gatherings to 50, and extending the closing of K-12 public schools through May 15.

March 20: Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 119, facilitating critical motor vehicle operations and delegating authority to the secretary of the department of health and human services to waive regulations in order to expand access to child care and support local health departments.

March 19: The U.S. Small Business Administration granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for small businesses that are suffering economic losses due to COVID-19.  Learn more.

March 17: Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 118, mandating that North Carolina restaurants and bars will be closed to sit-down service and limited to take-out or delivery orders starting at 5 p.m., March 17.  Grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores are exempt from this order and will remain open, though they may not serve sit-down food.  Additionally, the order lifts some restrictions on unemployment benefits and adds benefit eligibility for those out of work because they have the virus or must care for someone who is sick.  Learn more.

March 14: Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 117 to close K-12 public schools statewide for at least two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. The Order also prohibits gatherings of more than 100 people.  Learn more.

March 10: Governor Roy Cooper signed Excecutive Order 116, declaring a state of emergency to coordinate response and protective actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

March 3: North Carolina reported its first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

 

 

BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Online Resources

 

Support Local

Please continue supporting local small businesses by shopping online and ordering food for delivery and takeout.  Check out these online sites and groups for updates from local restaurants and small businesses:

 

Business Assistance

  • Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Learn more.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides additional guidance and loan resources here.
  • The Golden LEAF Foundation announced $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months.  Learn more.
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn.  Known as the “Paycheck Protection Program,” the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency.  Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.  Learn more.

 

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