ROANOKE RAPIDS — In response to rumors that 30 Walmart employees contracted COVID-19, The Daily Herald reached out to Walmart Inc. for a response.

“Protecting the privacy of our associates is important, and I will refer you to the local health department for any confirmations of COVID-19,” said Senior Manager Casey Staheli of National Media Relations. “In the event, we do have a confirmed case at any of our stores, we are working with those associates and offering guidance and time needed to receive medical care. Associates have been encouraged to prioritize their health and stay home if feeling sick. We also implemented a COVID-19 emergency leave policy for all associates who feel unable or uncomfortable coming to work.”

The Daily Herald reached out to the Halifax Health Department for comment, but did not receive information by press time.

Rumors continued to circulate regarding COVID-19 positive employees being forced to work at Walmart.

According to Walmart’s corporate website, the retail company created a COVID-19 Policy to support employees’ health. The policy encourages employees to stay home if they are not feeling well. A list of circumstances was also provided:

During this uncertain time, if you determine you are unable to work or are uncomfortable at work, you can choose to stay home. To ensure you feel supported making this choice, we will waive our attendance occurrence policy through the end of April, but please call in as usual to let us know. In order to be paid for this time, you may use your regular paid time off options.

If your store, club, office or distribution center is part of a mandated quarantine or if you’re required to quarantine by a government agency or by Walmart, you will receive up to two weeks of pay, and absences during the time you are out will not count against attendance. We’ve chosen two weeks because it matches the recommended time for quarantines related to this virus.

Should an associate have a confirmed case of the virus, they’ll receive up to two weeks of pay. If they’re not able to return to work after that time, additional pay replacement may be provided for up to 26 weeks for both full-time and part-time hourly associates.

Read the full press release at bit.ly/392ISmN.

Another rumor spurred locally regarded Vidant North not having enough beds due to COVID-19 patients. The Daily Herald reached out to the hospital in regard to the rumor and if the staff has an increased workload due to the combination of the virus, emergencies and non-emergencies.

“Vidant Health continues to see a high census of COVID-19 patients across the system, including at Vidant North Hospital,” said Brian Wudkwych, External Communications Specialist of Vidant. “In response to increased community spread, Vidant North limited the hours of visitation and has begun to enact its surge capacity plans to ensure we can continue to provide care for those we serve, including creating additional bed capacity in unused units and postponing some elective surgeries that require inpatient stays. We have communicated with those patients that have had their elective surgery postponed. We have taken these measures to ensure we are able to continue providing care to those we serve, including in our emergency department. Importantly, although COVID is a factor affecting capacity, other non-COVID related care is also driving higher numbers of patients at the hospital. Our care teams are dedicated to providing care to those we serve, but they need the community’s help. Our team members are not immune to community spread and we need them to be healthy in order to care for the community. We continue to ask everyone to do their part to help stop the spread: avoid gatherings, wash hands often and wear a mask.”

As of Tuesday, the Halifax County Health Department reports 3,085 total positive COVID-19 cases. The following is a breakdown of the positive cases:

• 20 new positive COVID-19 cases reported since Monday

• 52 (1.7%) COVID-19 related deaths

According to the Northampton County Health Department’s Facebook page, as of Monday, there are 1,163 total positive COVID-19 cases of which 1,004 have recovered and 57 related COVID-19 deaths. Currently, there are 102 active cases in Northampton County.