Care facility reports COVID; commissioner wants restrictions eased

Published 10:16 am Thursday, April 16, 2020

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A resident at Bermuda Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Advance has tested positive for COVID-19, although the number of active cases in Davie County has dwindled to one.

Suzanne Wright, director of the Davie Health and Human Services Department, gave an update to county commissioners during a telephone meeting on Monday afternoon.

And while residents continue to live under a state-mandated stay at home order, at least one county commissioner said that by the end of April, such decisions should be up to the counties, not the state.

Wright said there have been 22 lab confirmed COVID cases in Davie County. Two of those people died, and all but one has been through the required quarantine time, or have recovered. Three required hospitalization.

She said several of the local cases were contracted at church functions, not necessarily in Davie County, a couple from travel, one from caring for someone else with the virus, and the others by community spread – meaning there’s no known source.

“You run the risk of contracting the virus everywhere,” Wright said. “Some of them have no idea when they contracted the virus.”

To complicate matters, some people have the virus and never know because they don’t show symptoms. Not all people who get and recover from COVID are tested, she said.

Her advice remains the same. Stay at home if possible. When out, stay six feet from other people, wearing a protective face mask, wash your hands frequently, and refrain from touching your face.

She said the local health department received three test kits from the state when the emergency started. More were obtained last weekend, and they will be used to help protect medical personnel, first responders, law enforcement officers, and at long-term care facilities.

Most private medical providers can test for the virus, she said. In the beginning, it took up to 10 days to get rest results; which is now two to four days.

“There are a lot of people who have symptoms, but the criteria for testing is fairly strict,” she said.

County Manager John Eller said the county is trying to maintain services to residents while keeping employees safe. “Davie County government continues to provide services, we’re just doing it a different way.”

Board member Mark Jones said Davie needs to follow the lead of Gaston County and urge the governor to start lifting some of the restrictions that are causing economic hardship after April 30. He said he read a report that said that half of the small businesses couldn’t survive a prolonged shutdown.

“The governor is painting a very broad brush with this stay at home order. We need to put North Carolina and Davie County back to work again … before it’s too late for many of these small businesses.”

He quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said he prefers “dangerous freedoom over peaceful slavery.” The restrictions, Jones said, are hurting the economy and people’s morale.

“Davie County is not like Mecklenburg County, Wake County, Durham or even Forsyth County,” Jones said. “We need to be reasonable and wise with social distancing, but we can do that (and get back to work). We have got to do something for the citizens of our state who want to work.

“If the governor extends with a broad brush … when the evidence for Davie County indicates we do not need these strict policies, we need to make contact with him.”

Board member Benita Finney also said the economic repercussions need to be considered, that getting people back to work is important.

Board members praised county employees and residents, who are coming together to help one another.