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COMMISSIONER COMMENTARY: Stanly County, we can do better — we must do better

As one of your Stanly County commissioners and as a vaccine ambassador for Atrium Health, the information I have received over the last six weeks from both sources has not been positive regarding the delta variant of COVID-19.

Peter Asciutto

Note that by the time I receive the information, it’s been vetted by numerous members in the healthcare field. I trust the information sent by Stanly County Department of Public Health and Atrium Health.

I struggle to find the words to encourage the citizenship of Stanly County to Vax Up and Mask Up. I stress out knowing my words have and will fall on the deaf ears of many in Stanly County. Many will end up in the Intensive Care Unit, on a ventilator or even at a funeral hHome. My stomach gets tied up in knots every time a friend gets on the thoughts and prayers COVID-19 list.

COVID-19 continues to impact lives throughout the world, including here in Stanly County. The fourth wave of COVID-19 that is currently ravishing Stanly County, unfortunately, does not surprise me.

With one of the lowest vaccination rates in North Carolina, coupled with residents not masking up indoors and not social distancing when indoors, made this very predictable.

What did surprise me is how fast this wave is rolling through.

Here’s the new COVID-19 cases in Stanly County over the last month:

Week of 8/6 -206

Week of 7/30 – 124

Week of 7/23 – 72

Week of 7/16 – 35

Week of 7/9 – 18

Percent positive cases locally have exploded from 1.1 percent on June 8 to 14.9 percent as of Thursday afternoon.

For those of you that still think this is no different than the flu, think again. Here’s a fact from the Stanly County Department of Public Health. Flu deaths in Stanly County since July 1, 2016 – 16. COVID-19 deaths in Stanly County since April 1, 2020 – 147.

For those of you that still think that COVID-19 does not impact our children in Stanly County, think again. In July, we had 51 pediatric cases of COVID-19. Twelve days in August we already have 64.

New information shows that vaccinated citizens not only can catch COVID-19, they can spread COVID-19. The good news is that vaccinated people that catch COVID-19 are less likely to be hospitalized than those non-vaccinated.

If you have not been vaccinated, I do encourage you to do so. If you have questions about the safety of vaccines, please contact your healthcare provider about your health concerns.

For all Stanly County citizens, please, please, please wear a mask when indoors and in situations where social distancing is not possible.

I get that many of you will never, for whatever reason, get the COVID-19 vaccine. What I don’t understand is why you also make the choice to not wear a mask and not socially distance yourself from others.

If it’s a pride thing, I would like to remind you that COVID-19 does not care about pride. All the virus wants to do is jump from one body to another to find a host to destroy.

Wearing a mask protects others more than it protects one’s self. We are all in this together. We can do better. We must do better.

Vaccines are free, a trip to the emergency room, ICU, stint on a ventilator and a final stop at the funeral is not free.

Please Vax Up and Mask Up.

Peter Asciutto is a Stanly County commissioner and Albemarle business owner.