North Carolina has now surpassed 5,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 and almost 340,000 positive cases. When this pandemic began early this year, none of us expected the virus to have affected our way of life to this degree and for this length of time. The year 2020 will be recalled in history classes for generations to come.
On Monday, November 23, Governor Cooper fortified the state’s mask mandate and business capacity restrictions. When we are around people who are not in our household, we must wear a mask to contain the spread of this virus. Plus, businesses need to ensure that customers and employees are wearing masks and that occupancy does not exceed 50 percent to help customers maintain social distance.
In Alexander County, sadly there have now been 15 deaths associated with the virus with almost 1,500 confirmed cases. The state has placed us in the NCDHHS County Alert System’s “red” tier for “critical community spread” based on our percent of positive tests over the past 14 days and weeks before that. Alexander County is currently at a 15.6 percent positivity rate, which is the second highest of the 100 counties in North Carolina. As citizens and businesses, we can do much better by following the updated mandates of the Governor’s Phase 3 executive order.
As your Commissioners, we implore our citizens to practice the 3 W’s, which include wearing a face covering in public, waiting at least six feet apart, and washing your hands. We believe the most critical component of the 3 W’s is wearing a mask when around others. This is a simple, selfless act that can protect you, your loved ones, and the general public. We must work together to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Alexander County.
We understand that some people can’t wear a mask due to medical conditions, but urge everyone else to put aside politics and other issues, and wear a mask, which has been proven to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Unaffiliated, wearing a mask when you’re around other people can help our county and our country get through this pandemic.
Although a vaccine appears close to being released, we need to redouble our efforts to help keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy and safe. For much of the pandemic, Alexander County avoided major spikes in positive cases, but of course that is no longer the case. There has been much debate on the reason for our major spike in cases. The prison does account for 181 cases, but the majority of positive cases have come from community spread (dining, shopping, church, etc.).
With the Thanksgiving holiday this week, we would normally enjoy large, extended family gatherings, but this year may need to be different. The last thing we need in Alexander County is another spike in positive cases, which could occur if we don’t change our Thanksgiving tradition. We urge families to exercise caution and keep your loved ones safe. If you must gather, you should still wear your mask indoors when not actively eating or drinking, maintain social distance, and even open the windows to provide ventilation. You can utilize technology to video-chat with your grandmother rather than risk her life by gathering at her home. Think of all the places you’ve been, plus the other people who may gather with you — there’s a good chance that someone has been exposed and could spread the virus to your loved ones.
We love Alexander County and our people, and ask that you show love for your fellow man by being a responsible citizen. We can’t let this virus win. If we play as a team, we can emerge victorious, healthy, and safe. Please do your part.
Alexander County Board of Commissioners
Ryan Mayberry, Chairman
Larry Yoder, Vice Chairman