Highlands Town Board received an update from Macon County Emergency Management Director Warren Cabe at a special meeting via Zoom on Friday who encouraged maintaining social distancing as restrictions are lifted to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
“We are prepared to begin cautiously reopening based on trends and metrics we are seeing but we encourage the public to maintain social distancing and proper hygiene,” said Cabe on Friday. “If we start to see a downward trend in those same metrics, we could be forced to pause our reopening here or even take further actions to manage those trends.”
Jackson County Department of Public Health reported its first COVID-19 related death yesterday and currently has 22 active cases. Macon County DPH reported its first (and only) COVID-19 related death on April 6 and as of May 4 has 3 active cases.
“At the moment our total number of positive COVID patients is less than Jackson County,” said Cabe. “We expect our numbers to increase as more testing takes place. NC trends indicate the number of people requiring hospitalization are less sick and can usually be managed in regular medical rooms as opposed to requiring ICU care.”
Cabe added that based on current data, lifting restrictions is doable.
“I am comfortable with a slow reopening as we try to balance healthcare concerns with bringing our economy back online,” he said. “There are risks with whichever way we decide to proceed and the risk analysis at the moment seems to indicate we can move ahead.”
Cabe said decisions are being made based off of information available in a rapidly evolving situation.
“I want the public to know that any decision we make is not taken lightly,” said Cabe. “Any decision we make at the moment could affect lives, businesses, and our normal way of life. We can only make those decisions using the best data and information we have available. History will be the judge of our success or failure.”
Commissioners approved indoor takeout at restaurants and set plans for reopening short-term rentals. Read full article HERE.