Thursday, May 21, 2020

Meanwhile, Next Door in Wilkes County

Richard Craver reports in the Winston-Salem Journal that after the testing of 2,007 workers at the Wilkes Tyson chicken plant, some 570 of them tested positive for COVID-19 (another 237 employees were either tested by Wilkes County Health Department officials or through their health care provider). These numbers push Wilkes County into the dubious distinction as the hottest of hot spots in the state. Tyson said the majority of infected employees “did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been identified.” Tyson says that the infected workers are on paid leave.

Forsyth County
Hanesbrands Inc. has tested 164 employees at its Rural Hall distribution center. "At least" 16 tested positive.

Cases of COVID-19 have doubled in Forsyth in the last two weeks.

Dire Warning
From Julie Swann, an N.C. State University professor who has worked with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “If it’s in the local prison and if it’s in the local meat-packing plant, I don’t care, don’t open that county. Because it’s spreading in other places in that county and they just don’t realize it.” (Swann quoted here.) To wit, Wayne County, home to the prison with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state, was among the counties begging the governor to be exempted from his shutdown order.

Cooper's "Modified" Phase 2 Starts Tomorrow at 5 pm
"Safer at Home" is what he's calling it.

Restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50% dine-in capacity with distancing and cleaning requirements. Salons and barbershops will also be able to open at that 50% threshold with specific distancing and cleaning requirements. Employees of personal care businesses will be required to wear face coverings. Retail stores that were allowed to open in phase one at 50% capacity will continue at that level.

What will not be open in this new phase? Bars, gyms, playground and indoor venues such as movie theaters, museums and bowling alleys will all remain closed for the time being. Because the virus can be easily spread, mass-gathering-limits in phase two will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people in an outdoor setting. 

Heading into the holiday weekend, Health and Human Service Secretary Mandy Cohen urged North Carolinians not to let their guard down. “We need to rely upon one another to practice the three Ws as we begin leaving our homes more. When we wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, and wash our hands often, we are showing we care for our loved ones and neighbors,” said Dr. Cohen.

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