Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Closures affirm increase in COVID-19 | News

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Those included 314 currently active cases, the most since the health department started reporting active cases in early February. Ten of these 314 Wilkes residents with COVID-19 were in hospitals, the most reported by the health department as hospitalized since 23 in early March.

Signs announcing closures and reduced hours on doors of government offices and nonprofit agencies in Wilkes graphically reflect the surge in COVID-19 cases here. One of the staff members tested negative after being in quarantine and returned to work, said Smithey, adding that this person plans to get vaccinated. She said two others who were in quarantine decided to get jobs elsewhere. The employee who tested positive hasn’t returned to work yet.

Smithey said she arrived at work and found that County Manager John Yates had closed the register of deeds office and was having it “fogged” to kill the virus. Wilkes Superior Clerk of Court Regina Billings said a few employees in her office recently had to quarantine after two people working there tested positive for COVID-19. She said the positive cases resulted from exposure to family members with the virus.

Wilkes Register of Deeds Misty Smithey said Friday that she and Becky Caudill, assistant register of deeds, were the only two people out of a staff of six in the office vaccinated for COVID-19 when one of the six tested positive for the virus in late July. Hand-written signs on doors of the Wilkes Register of Deeds office in the Wilkes County Courthouse last week stated, “Due to COVID, we are extremely short-staffed this week. Expect long wait times! We will be closed for lunch and essential errands from 1-2:30 p.m. Please be patient with us.”

Jennifer Snider, executive director of the Ruby Pardue Blackburn Adult Day Care at West Park, North Wlkesboro, said the facility is temporarily closed after two cases were brought there by participants from involvement in two different community activities. Those cases were identified as positive as families noticed participants becoming symptomatic at home.  Billings said staff of the Wilkes Clerk of Court’s office are cross-trained to handle multiple responsibilities so the quarantining of a few didn’t cause a major disruption.

Signs on the front door say the facility closed at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6 and will reopen Aug. 23. Snider said staff continued wearing masks when it no longer was required They also continued doing daily symptom checks and having their temperatures taken upon entering the building. “Our center chose to be proactive and take measures to close and clean for a 14-day period in order to shield safety on all other participants, families and staff after two cases were brought in,” said Snider. No staff tested positive.

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