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Polk lifts quarantine order

Short-term rentals no longer asked to stop renting

POLK COUNTY—Polk County officials decided to let the order for residents to quarantine upon returning from hot spot areas and out of the country to expire as of Thursday.

The county had issued an order last month for anyone traveling to a Centers for Disease Control-recognized U.S. hotspot or had traveled in the last 14 days outside of the county to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the county. County officials also asked short-term rental facilities to cease rentals. Both of the order and request was set to expire on April 30, and officials decided to lift those orders on Thursday.

Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge and Polk County Health and Human Services Director Joshua Kennedy enacted the order and request last month.

“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,” Kennedy said Thursday evening. “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.

Kennedy also said COVID-19 continues to prove to be a highly contagious respiratory disease and 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, including at grocery stores and pharmacies. Even asymptomatic individuals (people without symptoms) can spread the virus. Health officials are also suggesting continued social distancing measures, remaining home when sick and using good hand/respiratory hygiene.

Polk County’s announcement came just prior to St. Luke’s Hospital announcing it has an employee who tested positive for the virus recently. Cases have also been announced at both White Oak in Tryon and Autumn Care in Saluda nursing facilities.

Polk County, as of Thursday evening, had 20 positive cases since March 26 with zero deaths.

The 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 the www.polknc.org , www.ncdhhs.org or call the Polk County Message Line 828-722-5086.