Dear DIFF Member-
Below is communication provided by CALO superintendent, Jeff West, to DIFF today regarding the intended approach to re-establishment of services at CALO.
- While Cape Lookout National Seashore never fully closed, we have collaborated with US Public Health, reviewed CDC, state and local government guidelines, and collaborated with the private sector, to ramp back up operations to the maximum extent possible over the next 75 days. This plan establishes near- to mid-term processes to align Cape Lookout National Seashore (CALO) operations to the National and State guidelines and supports the transition of Federal government operations back to a normal state while maintaining practices which have proven successful in fighting the virus. State and National guidelines have identified certain metrics that must be met to move through a three-phase recovery plan*.
*This plan is subject to modification based on updated guidance from the CDC, State Health, or local authorities.Pre-recovery Metrics
- In order to begin lifting restrictions, the state of North Carolina and the CDC determined we need to see progress in these key metrics:
- Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days. As of May 3, 2020, North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is showing a moderate increase over the last 14 days. State Health anticipates leveling by May 15, 2020.
- Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory of Lab-Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days. As of May 3, 2020, North Carolina’s trajectory of lab-confirmed cases over the last 14 days cases is still increasing, although at a slower rate. State Health anticipates leveling by May 15, 2020.
- Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days. As of May 3, 2020, North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive over the last 14 days is increasing at a slow rate. State Health anticipates leveling by May 15, 2020.
- Sustained Leveling or Decreased Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days. As of May 3, 2020, North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations over the last 14 days is largely level with a slight trend upward. State Health anticipates levels decreasing by May 15, 2020.
- To support documentation of these metrics, the State plans include these operational considerations: Increase in Laboratory Testing. As of May 3, 2020, North Carolina is testing approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people per day and is working to increase to at least 5,000 to 7,000 per day. Increase in Tracing Capability. As of April 28, 2020, North Carolina has approximately 250 people doing contact tracing across its local health departments and is working to double this workforce to 500. Local hospitals must have the capacity to treat all patients without crisis care and jurisdictions must have a robust healthcare worker testing program and plan in place. Currently, hospitals in NC are generally operating well below capacity. Availability of Personal Protective Equipment. The state is working to ensure there are adequate supplies to fulfill requests for critical PPE for at least 30 days. This includes face shields, gloves, gowns, N95 masks, and surgical and procedural masks. As of May 3,, 2020, the state has less than 30 day supply of gowns and N95 masks. Availability of PPE is calculated based on the average number of requests for the last 14 days compared to the supply that the state has on hand.
Three Phase Recovery Specifics
The three-phase recovery plan for Cape Lookout National Seashore combines state and federal requirements.
Please note these requirements are based on the best information available and are subject to change or modification as new information becomes available.
In Phase 1 (May 8, 2020):
- We anticipate the State Stay at Home order will allow travel not defined as essential. This would allow people to leave home for commercial activity at any business that can be open. ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents.
- CALO will implement appropriate employee and visitor social distancing, enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols, symptom screening of employees, accommodations for vulnerable workers, and provide education to employees and workers to combat misinformation.
- Select CALO restrooms will reopen on May 8-15, 2020 under strict cleaning protocols. These restrooms include Shackleford Banks dock restroom, the sound side restroom near the Lighthouse, the Lighthouse Beach restroom, the Cape Point restroom, the Great Island Bath House, the Longpoint Bath House, the Portsmouth Salter House restroom, and the Harkers Island Shell Point area restroom.
- CALO has not closed completely, but this would likely allow us to open passenger ferry services on May 15, 2020. Passenger ferry service will meet USCG recommendations, and CDC social distancing recommendations by limiting passenger capacity to 50% of actual vessel capacity, requiring passengers to wear masks, and by cleaning of common touch areas after each trip. Captain and deck hands will also be required to wear masks. It is recognized that family groups may not maintain social distancing. Ticket Booths and staging areas will be marked with social distancing signage and tapped with 6’ spacing markers on the ground.
- Cabins will reopen under specific cleaning protocols on May 18, 2020.
- CALO will continue to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. We recognize that the nature of park use may encourage people to informally gather in groups larger than 10 people and discourage this practice. Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed.
- CALO will reopen areas that have been closed subject to the same gathering limitation. Outdoor exercise will continue to be encouraged.
- CALO will recommend face coverings in public spaces when 6 feet of distancing isn’t possible.
- CALO will encourage eligible employees to continue teleworking. Employees at CALO will return to work in phases as required by operational and safety concerns. We will grant liberal leave, and some employees may fall under administrative safety leave guidelines.
- CALO will continue to honor local emergency orders with more restrictive measures which may remain in place.
- CALO will enforce strict social distancing protocols in common areas where employees or visitors are likely to congregate and interact. Visitor Centers will remain closed.
- Minimize NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
- A limited number of CALO volunteers may resume working based on safety guidelines.
In Phase 2 (May 22-29, 2020):
- CALO anticipates the State will lift the Stay at Home order with strong encouragement for vulnerable populations to continue staying at home to stay safe. ALL VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS should continue to shelter in place. Members of households with vulnerable residents should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home. Precautions should be taken to isolate from vulnerable residents. NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL can resume.
- CALO anticipates the State will allow limited opening of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, personal care services, and other businesses that can follow safety protocols including the potential need to reduce capacity. Visitor Centers will reopen with social distancing indicators and reminders in place. The Lighthouse will remain closed for the season except for special programs where we can protect visitors and employees from close proximity and poor ventilation.
- CALO anticipates the State will increase in number of people allowed at gatherings, and we will adopt those guidelines at that time. All individuals, WHEN IN PUBLIC (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas), should maximize physical distance from others. Social settings of more than 50 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed. CALO will begin issuing special use permits for groups that can meet the guidelines.
- CALO will continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
- CALO volunteer operations will resume to the extent possible to protect vulnerable populations.
In Phase 3 (July 1-July 14):
• CALO anticipates VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS can resume public interactions, but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed.
- CALO will encourage LOW-RISK POPULATIONS to minimize time spent in crowded environments.
- CALO will resume UNRESTRICTED STAFFING of worksites.
- CALO will begin issuing permits for LARGE VENUES under limited physical distancing protocols.
COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.Based on what we know now, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are:
- People 65 years and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised
- Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
- People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
Please contact me with any questions, and remember, we will have to react quickly as things change!
Cape Lookout National Seashore