7/2/20: DARE COUNTY HEALTH DIRECTOR ASKS PEOPLE TO BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY THIS WEEKEND TO PREVENT SPREAD OF COVID-19. Also Cites Lack of Cooperation, Rudeness by Direct Contacts Called by Tracers.

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Ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend, Dr. Sheila Davies is speaking out: “I am very concerned about the potential for rampant spread of COVID-19 based on reckless and irresponsible behavior,” she said in a videotaped message posted around 5 p.m. today.

Just as Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, did yesterday at a press briefing, Dr. Davies singled out large gatherings, with people refusing to wear face coverings and to social distance, as Petri dishes for COVID-19.

She firmly asked people to behave better, by observing the simple infection-control measures that we all know by heart, saying that, otherwise, there will be “significant spread in weeks ahead.”

The majority of the cases reported in Dare County in the past 10 days, Dr. Davies said, have been transmitted by “local spread.”

Twenty seven people who tested positive recently for the coronavirus are “directly linked” to one large party, according to Dare’s Director of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, either because they attended this ill-conceived event or because they came in contact later with someone who did.

One of these people, she said, is hospitalized outside of the area.

Dr. Davies also criticized noncompliant “direct contacts” whom the DCDHHS’s tracers have called, saying they have “hung up on” tracers, “spoken to [them] inappropriately,” “refused to cooperate” with them, “refused to provide critical information for contact tracing,” and “indicated they will not comply with quarantine or isolation.”

The health director said she has had no choice but to issue quarantine and isolation orders, which have legal force and can result in a penalty being assessed against the violator.

We say use the legal means available to you, Dr. Davies, to compel compliance with proven infection-control measures. Public-health workers should only have to do battle with diseases, not with the ignorance of people who spread them.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 7/2/20

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