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Charlotte COVID-19: Mecklenburg begins to implement stricter mask regulations



When Mecklenburg County leaders expressed concern about the steep trajectory of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization in the area, they developed new, stricter mask requirements.

Masks must now be worn in all buildings and facilities owned or leased by Charlotte and Matthews in Mecklenburg County. According to the joint statement, masks must now be used in outdoor environments, including county-level parks, where people cannot socialize.

Tuesday’s latest announcement (unanimously approved) strengthened a provision in the mask authorization that Governor Roy Cooper implemented across the state, which aims to slow the spread of COVID-1

9. The order takes effect immediately.

The decision was made after a long period of discussion. Gibbie Harris, director of public health in Mecklenburg County, said she was “very” concerned that the Charlotte area might soon become a coronavirus hotspot. It is now expanding in Texas.

Harris told the county commissioner at a virtual meeting on Tuesday night that some residents did not pay enough attention to the coronavirus pandemic and did not follow health guidelines.

Harris said: “I am observing what is happening in other communities and how fast this change is,” Harris responded to the county magistrate Mark Jerrell’s suggestion that Mecklenburg may be encountered again. Blocked inquiry.

Harris said: “I think we have to be a community in order to really control it and then look like Houston or San Antonio.”

Mecklenburg officials said Tuesday afternoon that there were 13,202 confirmed coronavirus cases and 160 related deaths among residents of the county.

The Associated Press reported that Texas swallowed 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and hospitalization surged to more than 9,000. Bars in the state were ordered to close last week, and restaurants reduced their capacity.

‘We are in trouble’

Gerald also urged Harris to “notify the community” before the COVID-19 trend reaches the “no return point”. Commissioner Trevor Fuller responded to this call, begging Harris and his colleagues to act quickly to curb the rising caseload.

“We are in trouble, guys,” Fuller said. “Are we going to close our county again? From a public health perspective, are we ready to do this?”

Harris said she would recommend stricter guidelines if necessary, although the director of health added that she had no right to impose standbys at home. This measure will require approval from the Mecklenburg County Commissioner and the mayors of Charlotte and six towns.

But county manager Dena Diorio said that Mecklenburg can no longer issue full-time orders, emphasizing that the local hospital system can currently manage the number of coronavirus patients. Diorio said that since the local outbreak in March, the hospital has learned more about the virus and how to increase its surge capacity.

Diorio said county leaders should continue to encourage residents to wear masks, follow guidelines for staying away from society, and maintain good hygiene.

Harris told members on Tuesday that these hospitals have a production capacity of about 80% and can provide 400 ventilators.

“Currently, their abilities are being maintained, and they are continuing to adjust enrollment rates based on the needs seen in the community,” Harris.

New mask rules

According to the Governor’s Executive Order that came into effect on June 26, masks must be worn in public places such as retail establishments, restaurants, and personal care companies that may have difficulty achieving social distance.

Cooper’s order requires that state government agencies wear masks, including “actions facing the public,” but only “strongly encourages” local government agencies to adopt similar facial masking rules.

The new Mecklenburg directive does not contain all property in the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Bohol Hill and Pineville. Previous emergency declarations, such as local orders to stay at home, received support from the county.

In addition, Davidson does require the use of face masks in urban facilities. According to the second phase of Cooper’s reopening plan, these facilities are currently not open to the public, Assistant Town Manager Karen Wattard told Charlotte Observer on Tuesday.

Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell said that Mecklenburg did not support stricter mask orders across the county, which is really regrettable.

Rodriguez-McDowell, who represents southern Mecklenburg, said: “I am deeply disappointed that the town has not joined this declaration.”

Local measures include the exception of wearing masks as ordered by Cooper, such as targeting people with medical or behavioral conditions and children under the age of 11. Daimler has also exempted private office masks, as well as situations where people abide by the law or are not practical. According to the latest local announcement, please wear a mask when “acquiring or providing goods or services”.

Nevertheless, county prosecutor Tyrone Wade said it would be difficult to implement this new measure in Mecklenburg.

More tests in Mecklenburg

Harris announced that the state has asked Mecklenburg to test 12.5% ​​of its population, or about 140,000 residents, in the next 30 days. Harris said that the latest test push has begun more than a week ago.

In May, the state of Mecklenburg must relax some testing capabilities because the state has relaxed some of the coronavirus restrictions. Through the program, the county tested more than 50,000 residents, accounting for about 5% of Mecklenburg’s population.

According to analysis by Charlotte observers, the June testing and case data indicate that the latest increase in known infections in Mecklenburg cannot be explained by additional testing. As Charlotte got rid of the strict “order at home”, the community’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 increased, and public health experts said it exacerbated the virus’s prevalence.

More than 184,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted in Mecklenburg, and they currently pass Atrium Health, Novant Heath and CVS Health on average 3,200 times per day. Harris said Mecklenburg will need help from the state, and test results will now take about a week.

Harris said of the test limits: “Our laboratory system is overloaded.”

Harris said that more than one-third of Mecklenburg’s infections are Hispanic residents, most of whom are young people between the ages of 20 and 39.

Since late May, the number of people requiring hospital-level care in the Charlotte area has steadily increased-an average of 165 people have been hospitalized in emergency facilities during the past week. According to data released by Mecklenburg on Tuesday, the day with the highest hospitalization rate to date is July 2, when 182 patients needed care.

Officials said that after the indicator appeared to be stable, the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests has “slightly increased” in the past two weeks, another crucial trend for coronaviruses. Harris said the ratio was 11.6% in the past seven days.

“I hope our community is considering this issue,” Rodriguez-McDowell said. “This is not only related to death, but also to hospitalization and serious illness.”

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Alison Kuznitz is a reporter for the Charlotte Observer and reports on local government. She previously worked as an intern in the Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, and Hirsch Connecticut Media Group. She grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2019.
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