Update Moore County's response to COVID-19

During a regular meeting of the Moore County Commissioners Tuesday, Health Director Robert Whittmann urged everyone to practice the 3 Ws: Wear a mask, Wait 6-feet apart and Wash your hands. These measures, Whittmann said, are needed to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.

In a far-reaching presentation, the health department gave an update to the board of commissioners on the response to COVID-19 in the county during one of the first in-person meetings at the Old Courthouse since rules against public gatherings were put in place last March. Previous meetings had been conducted online. This time, all those present were required to wear a mask and observed social distancing.

25 – 49 Age Group 

People in the 25 to 49 age group now make up the majority of the COVID-19 cases in Moore County. “One of the dividing lines we can point to for the jump has been since the reopening,’” said Whittmann. “We saw those numbers more than double for that age group, and a couple of factors play into that. One being, of course, there are more folks out and about.”

Young people are “prone to interact with each other, and some of them are not following the three Ws,” said Whittmann. “They are becoming infected and ramping up our cases. But the good news is they have not suffered any mortality from this. All of our mortality is in the age range 65 and up.

“So what we need to do is educate them to stay away from their parents and away from their grandparents if they’re going to engage in these activities, and because some of them may be asymptomatic, they need to be wearing masks. They really need to be wearing masks and following the wait six feet apart and wash their hands.”

More Deaths Reported

Four deaths were reported Tuesday, all associated with the Seven Lakes Assisted Living and Memory Care facility. According to the Moore County Coronavirus Dashboard, Moore County has seen a total of 18 deaths linked to COVID-19, all have been aged 65 and older.

Upon learning that the confirmed cases have spiked 10 per day, Commissioner Louis Gregory called it “alarming.” 

“I want to make sure that you are provided with what funds you need to be able to do your very best and to bring this under control,” Gregory said.

CARES Act Funding

County officials are expecting to receive a total of $3.8 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that was passed into law in March. Very little details were provided as to how that money would be used.

Back To School

Also Tuesday, Moore County Schools announced that schools would reopen beginning on August 17 with limited classroom instruction. During the meeting, commissioners were assured that the health department would continue to work closely with the school system.

“It is not just COVID-19,” said Whittman. “There are always things like Pertussis and other illnesses. The regular flu season starts in August, and that goes through our school system as well. So it’s going to be a challenging time,” Mr. Whittmann said. 

Vaccine

Whittmann told the commissioners that a vaccine that induces an immune response to COVID-19 is the only sure way to protect people. “We won’t stop it until we get a vaccine, and I’d like to think that that would be coming about in the first of the next calendar year, but I may be too optimistic about that.” 

Sandhills_Sentinel~Article and feature photo by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.

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