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The original item was published from 5/7/2020 3:15:12 PM to 5/23/2020 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: May 7, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Wilkes municipalities adopt Governor's Executive Order 138, encourage residents to stay at home

[Wilkesboro, NC, May 7, 2020] – The towns of Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro, and Ronda have amended their State of Emergency declaration to align with Governor Cooper’s recent Executive Order 138. This action establishes a “modified stay-at-home” order that legally permits limited commercial activity as long as prescribed measures are in place to ensure social distancing and sanitation. The amended declaration takes effect at 5 PM on Friday, May 8, 2020.

Residents are encouraged to click on the following link for more information on the “modified stay-at-home” order:

This alignment is a legal measure intended to increase voluntary compliance by eliminating the hodge-podge of federal, state, and local orders. However, the towns wish to express clearly that they reserve the right to re-institute stricter protective measures should the situation warrant.

Wilkes County is in the midst of a spike in confirmed cases. The number of cases in the county has jumped nearly 3000% in the last two weeks, and two outbreaks have been identified. In both outbreaks, Wilkes Health and state authorities are working with the facilities to help manage the outbreak and prevent further transmission, but more positive cases are expected in the coming days as Tyson Foods tests its employees. The local trends DO NOT meet Governor Cooper’s and the White House’s stated criteria for reopening.   

Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard confirms that “the majority of our latest cases are tied to the Tyson Foods outbreak, [but] several are not. We know that community transmission is still happening in our community.”

Therefore, it is the official policy of the three towns to encourage residents to stay-at-home to the fullest extent possible.

Staying at home is the only proven method to break the chain of transmission. Social distancing and other measures such as masks are essential in public settings and decrease the risk of transmission, but they are not as effective as staying at home. Older individuals and individuals with certain underlying health conditions, which the state estimates to be half of all adults in North Carolina, are particularly vulnerable and should continue to stay at home. No resident or visitors should plan or participate in any public activity that is not essential to life, health, or safety.  Gatherings remain legally limited to ten or fewer individuals.

Willard endorses the towns’ position. “As we move into the coming days and weeks, we continue to urge the community to be vigilant, stay at home to the greatest extent possible and practice prevention measures to protect yourself like washing your hands, covering cough and sneeze, and keeping six feet or more of distance from others when you have to be in public. If you go out you should practice the three Ws: Wear, Wait, and Wash. Wear a face covering, wait six feet apart from other people, and wash your hands often.”

The towns expect to receive additional data on the status of the virus in Wilkes County in the coming days. At that time, they will consult with medical and public health professionals and reevaluate the status of the local state of emergency.

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