A county in North Carolina has created checkpoints at its borders and will only allow permanent residents in. Officials with Dare County say the measures are necessary to prevent their only hospital from getting overrun with patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is imperative to take measures to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19 and not overwhelm our healthcare system so it can care for those who are at most risk and continue to provide routine medical and emergency services," the county said in a statement.
In order to enter the county, locals must present officers at the checkpoint with a permanent resident entry permit. People who work in Dare County but do not live there must ask their employer to apply for a special permit for non-residents.
Dare County is the middle of the Outer Banks and is a popular tourist destination over the summer. Roughly 35,000 people live there, but during the summer, the population soars to around 300,000.
Even with the strict measures, the county reported its first case of COVID-19 last week. Officials said the patient contracted it through travel or direct contact with a person who was infected. Authorities also enacted a stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Saturday (March 29) night.
"The intent of this declaration is to decrease the risk of exposure and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Dare County by eliminating non-essential travel, thereby reducing the number of individuals in the county and ultimately reducing potential virus spread and the burden on our healthcare system," authorities said.
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