COVID MESSAGE #30 – with your guest host, Haywood County Medical Director Mark Jaben
PEOPLE, NOT NUMBERS:
We have enough information now to be confident there is no significant increase in cases linked to Labor Day celebrations. This is great news and reflects a pattern that we’ve been seeing for a while now: more people practicing full masking and social distancing. THANK YOU to everyone doing their part—it really does make a difference!
Numbers, in general, seem to have reached a plateau level, averaging 4-6 new cases per day since the beginning of the month, in contrast to the large surges that we experienced throughout July and early August. Our COVID working number (the number of people in isolation + number in quarantine each day = number of cases we’re actively monitoring) has gone from a daily average of 265 in August (with a record high of 377 on August 11) to a daily average of 77 this month. Again, more people taking precautions seriously has slowed the flow of new cases and has significantly reduced the amount of stress on our small but mighty COVID response team. THANK YOU!
The cluster at a salon that we told you about last week has a few more people involved, which was expected since positive cases become apparent 1-2 weeks after the exposure. There are now a total of five employees, eight clients, and seven close contacts of these employees and customers who have tested positive for COVID-19. Three people remain hospitalized.
Again, with all of the clusters we have seen, there has been inconsistent use of masks in situations where people are in close contact with others for extended periods. A simple face covering, particularly when combined with keeping distance whenever possible, makes a huge difference in reducing the opportunities that the virus has to jump from person to person.
AUTUMN IS HERE!
And it’s also flu shot season! Yes, we sound like a bit of a broken record on this front, but this year it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. While it’s true that the flu shot isn’t a 100% guarantee against illness, the vaccination lowers the likelihood of contracting the flu, and reduces the severity of the illness if you do catch it. With a pandemic still active in our community, it’s crucial to do what we can to reduce the strain on our hospitals and providers to ensure care for those who really need it when they need it. Do your part by getting a flu shot. (Shameless plug—the Health Department has both standard and high-dose flu shots available. Call 828-452-6675 for more info and an appointment.)
Attached is an interesting article that outlines the reasons for getting the flu shot ASAP this season, as well as explaining the likely parallels between the flu vaccine and the potential COVID-19 vaccine.
- WEAR a mask that covers your mouth and nose
- WAIT six feet apart--give others space!
- WASH your hands frequently with soap and water, and disinfect surfaces
- ISOLATE as soon as you feel sick, and get tested
- QUARANTINE if you are exposed or tested for COVID
- DO what you can to NOT be a close contact with anyone
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.