Lay should let sleeping dogs lie - Lowell Sun

Lay should let sleeping dogs lie - Lowell Sun Lay should let sleeping dogs lie - Lowell Sun Posted: 05 Mar 2021 10:15 PM PST THREE REASONS why School Committee wannabe Dominik Lay should abandon all efforts to replace his buddy Bob Hoey, who resigned from the committee Feb. 26 just a few days after his abhorrent, racially insensitive behavior on a local cable television show: First, the evidence to support Lay's claim he lives in Lowell and not Boston is scant. After Lowell officials received complaints that Lay did not live in the city, and in fact lived in Brighton, City Solicitor Christine O'Connor penned a four-page letter last week explaining in part why Lay does not live in Lowell. O'Connor, a top-notch sleuth, found via a search of public records that Lay has owned his Brighton property since 2015, however, a search of the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds shows that Lay has been associated with this property since Novemb

Virus cases reaching new highs - Mount Airy News

Virus cases reaching new highs - Mount Airy News

Virus cases reaching new highs - Mount Airy News

Posted: 08 Dec 2020 06:37 PM PST

An alarming rise in COVID-19 cases across North Carolina has prompted Gov. Roy Cooper to impose new stay-at-home guidelines in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus and keep hospitals from being overrun with patients. The new rules carry the specter of yet more restrictive measures to come if the number of new cases doesn't decline.

Surry County has not been immune to the spike in new cases, setting one of its highest single-day totals on Monday with 303 active cases. All totaled, Surry County had recorded 3,137 since the pandemic began as of Monday. Fifty-two local residents have died from the sickness.

"Yesterday was the third-highest (active cases) to my recollection, making it the third time Surry County has had over 300 active cases of COVID-19," said Maggie Simmons, assistant health director with the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center. She made her comments late Tuesday morning.

"We have seen a significant increase in the number of new cases over the past week, and Surry County data continues to be in line with the upward trends seen statewide and nationally."

Those statewide trends show nearly every metric used to measure the pandemic hitting all-time worse marks. For six consecutive days, and 11 out of the previous 12, North Carolina has hit a new high in the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

On Sunday, the state recorded a single-day increase of 6,400 new positive test results, another all-time high. In seven of the previous eight days, the AP reports that the percentage of tests coming back positive has reached double-digits; and the overall positive rate, since April, has now eclipsed 10%.

Since the pandemic began, the state has seen more than 400,000 of its residents test positive, with 5,600 deaths.

"We know that Surry County has critical community spread, and it will take all of us working together to slow this virus," Simmons said.

Northern Regional Hospital also is seeing an uptick in hospitalizations for the virus.

According to Ashly Lancaster, hospital director of marketing, 20 COVID-19 patients were being hospitalized on Tuesday, with six of the hospital's six intensive care beds taken by such patients.

Staffers are also seeing a growing toll.

"We are seeing an increase in the number of staff testing positive or having to be quarantined due to exposure," she said, adding that 7% of the staff has tested positive since the start of the pandemic. Thus far, she said no shifts have had to run with short staffing.

"We have been fortunate that when a unit experiences a shortage, staff in other areas have been able to cover," she said.

John Shelton, Surry County EMS director, said thus far first responders have been fortunate that few have contracted the virus.

"Our folks are exposed to it every day, we're running COVID patients every day, but we haven't had many cases," he said. "We have a strong PPE (personal protective equipment) protocol. Most of those (EMS workers) who have gotten it have gotten it outside of their work, from other sources."

As case numbers have continued to grow, more emphasis around the nation has been put on the need for more PPE: surgical-grade face masks, goggles, gloves, gowns, and other protective clothing. At some points early in the pandemic, there were some healthcare workers around the nation forced to go without PPE – a situation officials are hoping to avoid locally.

"We are working with several different vendors to make sure we have enough supply, especially with those that are absolutely essential," Shelton said. "We're working with first responders, hospitals, nursing homes."

Shelton said there have been several local vendors working with his office to ensure there is an adequate supply, though with state resources drying up, he said the effort is shifting to using more local money to procure the supplies.

Both Shelton and the health center's Maggie Simmons said it's still possible to get the pandemic under control and significantly slow the spread of the virus by following a few simple rules.

First, properly wear facial masks in public. Second, avoid large gatherings, especially indoors, and maintain proper social distancing at all times. And third, wash hands thoroughly and often.

Simmons added that individuals should not put off testing if they are experiencing symptoms; they should be open to health department officials doing contact tracing with them if they do contract the virus. And she suggested individuals use the phone app SlowCOVIDNC, and share that app with friends, family, and work associates. The app, she said, can help with contact tracing after a positive test.

"People are so tired of being penned up and staying home, they're just getting out and circulating among people who have it," Shelton said of the recent spike in cases. But, he said, it's more important now than ever for people to step back, take the restrictions seriously and slow the virus.

He said after talking with state officials, he gets the idea there could be tighter rules coming from Cooper if the virus spread doesn't slow.

Cooper, in announcing the new restrictions Tuesday, was direct in confirming that.

"Let me be clear: We will do more if our trends do not improve," the governor said at Tuesday's news conference. "That means additional actions involving indoor restaurant dining, entertainment facilities or shopping and retail capacity. None of us wants that."

Among the new restrictions announced Tuesday, and taking effect on Friday, is a modified stay-at-home order requiring individuals to remain in their residences between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The executive order instructs bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and personal care businesses to close by 10 p.m., though grocery chains and some retailers that sell groceries will be allowed to operate within the seven-hour overnight window.

On-site alcohol sales at bars must end by 9 p.m.

Travel to and from work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. is still permitted, as is travel to get food, gas, medical care or social services.


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