July 30, 2021
The Delta Variant has become a game-changer. The number of North Carolinians in the hospital with COVID-19 has more than doubled in the last two weeks, the 14-day rolling average of new daily cases has increased nearly 200%, the positivity rate is at its highest in more than five months and we’re starting to see clusters and outbreaks again. We have had more cases in the last two weeks than we’ve had in months.
And that’s why, based on CDC and state guidance and consultation with our Public Health team, masks will be required indoors for ALL Haywood County facilities starting Monday, August 2nd. This requirement applies to employees, the public and visitors. This requirement does not impact the Justice Center; decisions regarding that facility will be made by the Court System.
WHY WOULD I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK IF I’M ALREADY VACCINATED?
When we lifted the requirement to wear masks earlier this year, the data showed that fully vaccinated people were less likely to transmit the virus – but that all changed with the Delta variant circulating.
- It is thought that the UK variant was 50% more contagious than the original virus. The Delta variant is 60% more contagious than the UK. If you do the math, Delta is more than 100% more contagious than the original virus. It’s by far the “fastest and fittest” strain of COVID-19 yet.
- Vaccinated people represent a very small amount of people getting Delta. However, these “breakthrough” infections mean even the vaccinated can get and spread the virus, though they might not be showing any symptoms. That’s why masks are important again for everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated: to avoid spreading the virus.
- The majority of all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.
- The more we allow the virus to spread, the more chances we give the virus to mutate again. When you become infected, you become a host to potentially help grow a new variant. New variants aren’t going to be weaker than the previous ones, they’re going to be stronger and more deadly.
- The vaccines ARE helping prevent severe illness and death from Delta, but, as the CDC director said yesterday, we’re just a few mutations away from the virus being able to evade our current vaccines.
DO EMPLOYEES HAVE TO WEAR MASKS AT ALL TIMES?
Employees will be expected to wear masks when indoors in all public spaces. Employees don’t have to wear masks when alone in personal offices or workstations.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO IN ADDITION TO MASKING?
Vaccination is the best way to protect you, your family, your coworkers and your community. Data demonstrates that the vaccines are preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, and are effective against the Delta variant. The more people get vaccinated, the more we can reduce the spread and stop new variants from developing.
In addition to masking, follow all the public health protective measures:
- Avoid being a close contact, especially in high-risk situations such as crowds or any gatherings where you can't keep your distance. This is particularly true if you’re indoors and if the ventilation is not good (you should be able to feel air blowing around), as well as any situation where you’re not sure who is and isn’t vaccinated.
- Limit your time around anyone you don't know or anyone who is not being careful to follow the public health protective measures at their home or work (this includes family members).
- Good hand hygiene is important.
The accelerated cases we are seeing are among families, in workplaces, and at large events including religious gatherings.
KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST COVID NEWS
The latest news, statistics for Haywood County and health guidance for COVID are available online at https://www.haywoodcountync.gov/684/COVID-19-Information
We have walk-in vaccine clinics open five days a week at Health and Human Services (157 Paragon Parkway, Clyde). Call 828-452-6620 to schedule your vaccine appointment.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate these unique and challenging times, and thank you for your commitment to slowing the spread of COVID-19.