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COVID MESSAGE 29-Please share widely
PEOPLE, NOT NUMBERS:
We’ve seen an increase in positive cases this past week. Since we know someone infected represents an exposure from a week or two before, this might be related to exposures during Labor Day weekend. It will take another week to be confident we will not see the sort of spike we had been concerned would happen. Thanks to everyone who was careful during that time.
However, one group that was not yet a cluster last week has now officially switched over to cluster status after consultation with NC DHHS. The cases were from the same setting, during the same time period.
Cluster definition: The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) defines clusters of COVID-19 in workplace, educational, and other community settings as: 1) A minimum of 5 cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period AND, 2) plausible linkage between cases where cases were present in the same setting during the same time period (e.g., same shift, same classroom, same physical work area), that the timing fits with likely timing of exposure, and that there is no other more likely source of exposure for identified cases (e.g., household or close contact to a confirmed case in another setting).
The new cluster is from a business where mask-wearing was not practiced consistently by an employee. Three employees and five clients have tested positive so far, as well as five close contacts (so far) of the affected employees and customers. Three people are currently hospitalized as a result of this cluster. To put it into perspective, this cluster alone represents one-third of the cases identified in Haywood County since September 8, 2020.
Masks really make a difference in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Please do your part to protect others and wear a mask anytime you’re going to be within six feet of others, whether indoors or outdoors.
Just a reminder—if you want to make sure that your business or organization is complying with the most current guidelines, this NCDHHS page has the most up-to-date guidance for all types of businesses, agencies, providers, and organizations: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance
Youth and Amateur Sports Guidance
Speaking of being in close proximity to others, the state has issued interim guidance for administrators and participants of youth and amateur sports programs. To minimize transmission opportunities, the recommendation is still to limit sporting activities to those in which participants can maintain social distancing, or where close contact is limited and brief, such as cycling, swimming, tennis (singles), and track and field. For sports where close contact may occur but is not prolonged (soccer, volleyball, baseball, and softball), the recommendation is for limiting tournaments in which multiple teams convene and only playing outdoors, utilizing face coverings whenever feasible. Close contact sports like football, cheerleading, basketball, wrestling, and team swimming are still discouraged. Full details and guidance are attached.
How to Cope When Everything Keeps Changing
These days we all feel as if the ground is constantly shifting under our feet. We’ve all struggled to cope during this time of extreme and ongoing changes. The attached article suggests that knowing how to react when our plans fail is essential for recalibrating and coping when life resembles an endless stream of curveballs. The key factors involve:
Read the full article for tips on how to activate those keys.
What’s Your Pandemic Six-Word Memoir?
The New York Times recently ran an interesting collection of responses to a challenge to write a story about the pandemic experience in six words. Responses included:
A few that we came up with here at the Health Department include:
What’s yours? Send it in and we’ll include the best in next week’s message!
The latest Haywood County Food Resource Guide is attached. Please share with any individuals, families, or organizations who need help or can assist in spreading the word about these resources.
Remember a close contact is considered to be within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes and not wearing a face covering. Your best bet is to protect yourself and others by following the guidance above.
Please be sure to check reliable sources for COVID-19 information.