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COVID cases up; 4th death reported

Davie County continues a recent trend of about 20 new coronavirus cases per week – with another death attributed to the virus last week.

Total, 164 Davie residents have had lab-confirmed COVID-19 since the numbers starting being tabulated in mid-March. Four people have died. Ninety remain sick, and 69 have been released from isolation – or have recovered, reported the Davie County Health Department.

The number also includes an outbreak (two or more cases) at a local assisted living center, said Health Director Suzanne Wright. All patients and employees have been tested there, and health officials are closely monitoring the situation, she said.

The pandemic is also making establishing a budget harder for counties and towns because the prediction for sales tax revenue has been skewed by closed businesses and a stay at home order.

County Manager John Eller said the county will decide on a cost-of-living adjustment for county employees in October, after the sales tax numbers are in.

“This is one of the most interesting budget years we’ve ever had because of all of the unknown,” Eller said. “The past few months have not been easy, very trying on all of us.”

County commissioners mentioned the pandemic during their electronic meeting on Monday.

Benita Finney asked everyone to help take care of one another, especially those elderly or living along. People’s mental health is important, she said.

“We’re praying for each other,” said Mark Jones. “Davie County has done a great job of keep some level of normalcy. Let’s keep our chins up. We’ll get through this and we’ll be stronger than ever.”

“We all want to get back to a normal life,” said James Blakley. “I pray with everyone that we’ll get back to it.”

“How blessed we are to live in Davie County,” said Terry Renegar, board chair. He praised local schools for creative graduation ceremonies.

Davie County Schools should make a decision soon about the opening of school in August, and sent parents a survey with options: open as usual on Aug. 17, open at 50 percent capacity or doing all remote learning, said Superintendent Jeff Wallace, who said the district is awaiting the governor’s announcement on schools on July 1.

As of last week, the school system had served more than 360,000 meals to Davie’s young people.

In a COVID-19 briefing last week, EMS Director Brian Byrd and E911 Director Rodney Pierce said they have seen little change in the number of calls. The EMS continues to ask questions on 911 medical calls so first responders can be ready for the situation, Byrd said. “We will continue to adapt.”

Pierce reminded folks with general questions to call 211 so that 911 operators will be available for emergencies.

Although water and sewer services aren’t being disconnected during the pandemic per the governor’s order, the bills are still due. Anyone with trouble paying a county water or sewer bill is asked to call 753-6090 to set up a payment plan.