Nov. 23. 2020
Positive Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly not only in the country but Rutherford County as well. In the past two weeks (11/6-11/20) we have seen a rise of 364 positive cases (2168 total positives) and 7 deaths (84 total) here locally. Thankfully our hospitalizations have remained relatively stable at under 16/day. Our percent positive rate was as of last Friday 12.1% well over the 5.0% that NCDHHS is shooting for.
People are blaming many things for the rise in numbers such as not wearing a mask, going to large gatherings, and generally engaging in unsafe behaviors* (*CDC recommendations) however many who are contracting the virus are following the recommended guidelines. Why then are our numbers increasing?
Covid-19 is a virus and viruses mutate as we have seen with H1N1 in the past. Covid-19 has had multiple mutations since first appearing and will likely have many more. One of the most recent identified by researchers is D614G. This strain is said to be ten times more infectious by having a higher viral load in the persons that have it. It does not however cause any more severe reactions than the original strain. This strain is thought to have originated from Europe and brought to the East coast.
Please remember that wearing a mask does NOT prevent Covid-19. Wearing a mask does NOT allow you to forget common sense measures. It does however provide another layer of protection from aerosol droplets. At this point wearing a mask is also considered a polite thing to do for others. It is not just about the level of protection, it is about caring for the thoughts, feelings, and well being of your community.
Scientists are hoping that the process that causes this strain to be more infectious will also cause it to be more receptive to a vaccine. Recent studies have shown that the current vaccines under trial today do work on this mutation and people who had the original Covid-19 do seem to have protection from this strain. In the meantime things that people can do to help their own immune systems stay as strong as possible are the same as we have been doing for flu for years.
Get plenty of rest, sunshine, fluids, take a multivitamin, exercise, engage in a hobby, and most importantly wash your hands. If you have a co-morbidity and are an “at-risk” person be very cautious when going out. Try to limit your indoor exposure to fifteen minutes or less, wear your mask (covering your mouth and nose), stay socially distant when possible, and wash your hands.
Vaccines are in the works, treatments are being developed everyday but in the here and now we must do all we can personally to remain healthy and protect ourselves. If you have been exposed use common sense and quarantine until such time as you can be cleared either by time or testing. If your employer does not have a Covid-19 exposure plan in place to help you until you can return to work try to talk with your creditors, landlords, neighbors, and family about what type of help you might need in advance. Develop a Covid quarantine plan for yourself and your family.
Remember you can be quarantined each time you are exposed. A plan is vital. This unfortunately is a situation we are going to have to learn to live and work with as the eradication of Covid-19 is almost impossible. Stay as safe as you can, help those who need help, and most of all be kind to each other.
If you have any questions or concerns please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will attempt to get them answered for you. (all communications are confidential)