The Jackson County Department of Public Health verified the first two positive cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County as of April 2, there were no new cases on April 3. JCDPH reported both infected individuals are part-time residents and are being cared for at area hospitals.
However, JC Deputy Health Director Melissa McKnight said the important thing for people to do is continue to follow federal, state, and local guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“I would encourage our community to focus less on the case count and more on taking steps to keep themselves and the ones they love safe and healthy—wash your hands, don’t touch your face, stay home, if you must go out, maintain 6 feet apart from others, don’t congregate in groups of 10 or more,” said McKnight. “Those actionable steps are things you have control over and ways you can slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
McKnight added JCDPH has been collaborating with several partners across the county to share a consistent message to the public and stress the importance of staying home as much as possible as one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The main point I’d like to drive home is how important it is to stay home to stop the spread of disease,” she said. “And to offer thanks to our community for their patience, understanding, and concern for themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors.”
McKnight added she thinks the community is receiving that message.
“I have been impressed to see how quickly our community is adapting to these guidelines and how we are coming together to create innovative ways to continue to help one another while maintain social distancing,” said McKnight. “I know additional education needs to be done, but I have confidence in the ability of our community to do what is right and what will keep ourselves and the ones we love safe.”
Jackson County Public Affairs Officer Kelly Donaldson said a lot has been asked of the community in a short amount of time.
“We’re seeing good participation from our community in reaction to the federal, state, and local recommendations; but it can always be better,” he said. “The more we can encourage everyone to stay at home, practice social distancing, and sanitize adequately, the faster I think we all believe this situation will pass.”
Donaldson added the longer the emergency guidelines are in effect, it is only natural for people to become restless and perhaps become careless regarding North Carolina’s stay at home order. He stressed the importance of everyone treating coronavirus as seriously weeks from now as they did on day 1.
“I feel like the response from our local teams has been impeccable and encouraging to watch from behind the scenes,” said Donaldson. “Our health department, emergency services staff, sheriff’s office, and local municipalities and county officials have been ahead of the game as far as I’m concerned. I think our community should look at what these people on the front lines are doing in a positive, reassuring manner.”
Jackson County Emergency Shelter
In the event of a surge of patients at multiple hospitals throughout the area all at once, JC Emergency Management has a regional medical facility with a 50 square-mile response area, which would cover the far western counties of the state, said Jackson County Emergency Management Director Todd Dillard. The State oversees these sites in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and North Carolina Emergency Management.
“The facility is used for hospital surge and can be used only for Non Covid-19 patients, this would allow hospitals to have more rooms available for the possible surge of positive patients,” said Dillard.
Images courtesy of Jackson County Department of Public Health.
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