Health Department brainstorms COVID-19 issues

Moore County Health Director Robert Wittmann held a meeting on Sept. 2 to brainstorm ideas on prevention, combating isolation fatigue, inspiring youth who disregard mask wearing, and the media’s role in living under COVID-19 Phase 2.5. The two main goals of the meeting, according to Wittmann, are saving lives and keeping students in school.

At-risk populations and isolation fatigue:

Wittmann said that since we are facing at least five more months of restrictions, the needs of the elderly need to be addressed. Isolation fatigue causes mental and physical concerns, and 25% of the population is 65 and older, and many have self-isolated.

“Nursing homes especially. There is a noticeable difference because they are losing hope,” said Wittmann.

Under Gov. Roy Cooper’s Phase 2.5, nursing home visitation is allowed following proper protocol.

“I support churches opening with masks, screening at the door and distancing,” Wittmann said, “Now is the time we need that fellowship but need to know it’s safe.”

By following the 3 Ws, wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart and washing hands, people can avoid infection and control their own destinies. Not all people realize that, and Wittmann said that he wants media to broadcast the practice of the 3 Ws, so people can resume most activities.

Jessica Leins with planning and response efforts said that a “vaccine may be available as early as November for at-risk populations.”

Youth who disregard mask wearing:

The Pilot editor John Nagy suggested “cool videos on droplet dispersion” in schools and on social media. Nagy said that allowing children to personalize their masks with their own creative art would also help them to positively identify with mask wearing.

Sandhills Sentinel’s representative suggested “jingle contests on the 3 Ws for each elementary, middle, high school and college and to cover the contest in media.”

Attendees said they liked both ideas, and each of the media representatives agreed to work on increasing 3 Ws awareness in articles, art, and broadcast efforts.

Attendees included Deputy Health Director Jennifer Wallace and Jessica Leins with planning and response efforts, and in health education, Miriam King and Matt Garner. Teresa Forrest represented the board and is an administration officer.

If you have ideas on raising awareness on the 3 Ws please contact Sandhills Sentinel at editor@sandhillssentinel.com.

Feature photo: Moore County Health Director Robert Wittman encourages practicing the 3 Ws in a meeting at the health department on Sept. 2.

Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.

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