Code Red: Davie at critical stage of virus spread

Published 9:50 am Sunday, November 22, 2020

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Code Red.

It’s not somewhere Davie County wants to be, but as Gov. Roy Cooper rolled out new ways of pinpointing where COVID-19 hotspots are across North Carolina, Davie was one with critical community spread of the virus.

From Monday to Friday of last week, Davie went from 164 to 238 COVID-positive residents. One more resident died. The number in the hospital decreased from six to one.

Davie had a 12.2 percent positivity rate, meaning that percentage of residents who had been tested came back positive. Over 10 percent puts a county in Code Red. Davie’s 539 case rate per 100,000 population also put it as one of 10 counties designated Code Red.

“Join us in doing whatever you can to reduce the spread in our community,” Interim County Manager Robin West said in an email, referring most information to detailed recommendations from the state.

Already, the Advance Christmas Parade and the Cooleemee Christmas Parade have been canceled. “After 25 years, this was a very hard decision to make,” said Advance Fire Chief Rodney Miller. His board of directors had met the night before after learning of the Code Red status. Mocksville had canceled its parade a few weeks ago.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported that Bermuda Commons in Advance had five residents with COVID, and Davie Nursing and Rehab in Mocksville had three staff members and three residents with the virus.

The state is using three codes, with Code Orange meaning substantial community spread and Code Yellow meaning significant community spread. Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, still recommends the three W’s for people in all code zones – wear a protective face covering, wash or sanitize your hands often, and wait six feet apart.

Among the recommendations for individuals in a Code Red county:

• limit mixing between households and limit those in your social circle;

• avoid settings where people congregate;

• consider ordering take-out from a restaurant instead of dining in, or eat outdoors socially distanced;

• stay at home if at high risk for developing serious illness; and

• reduce public interactions to essential activities like going to work or school, caring for family members, buying food, getting health care or medications.

Businesses and community organizations are asked to do the following:

• allow employees to work from home if possible, cancel any non-essential work travel;

• promote the Find My Testing Place website to employees;

• require all employees to participate in County on Me NC training;

• manufacturing, construction, food processing sites and farms are asked to consult with NCDHHS (919-707-5900) on reducing transmission;

• community and religious organizations should avoid in-person indoor meetings, events, worship services or other gatherings above the indoor mass gathering limit (10).

The state also listed things for public officials to do:

• meet with state officials to discuss plans to mitigate the spread;

• work with the state to expand availability of no-cost testing for residents;

• work with the state to increase availability of non-congregate housing;

• increase messaging on the risk of serious disease for older individuals and those with certain underlying medical conditions and recommend those people stay at home;

• adopt ordinances that allow for the use of civil penalties for enforcement of the state restrictions;

• consider adopting local ordinances to end alcohol sales for onsite consumption at an earlier time;

• consider adopting local ordinances with additional restrictions for public facing businesses.

“By pinpointing counties with high virus transmission and asking everyone in those counties to work with us and do more right now to slow the spread of the virus, wwe can succeed,” Gov. Cooper said. “It can help bring down thir case rates, keep their communities safer, save lives and keep their hospital systems working.”

“It’s going to take all of us working together to avoid tightening restrictions like so many states are now doing,” Cohen said. “The COVID-19 County Alert System gives North Carolinians an easy way to see how their county is doing and know that they can do to protect their family and neighbors and slow the spread of this virus.”