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Jenkins appeals to sense of patriotism in rallying public to unite against COVID-19

During a COVID-19 presentation before the Stanly County Board of Commissioners Tuesday night, Stanly County Health Director David Jenkins appealed to residents’ sense of patriotism in trying to get more people to band together to combat the coronavirus.

As the country reflects on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Jenkins evoked the memories of people rallying together after the attacks to hopefully inspire a similar collective effort against COVID-19.

“We have an enemy here in the U.S. right now…it’s killing Americans by the thousands,” he said. “I think it’s important that we all come together — every man, woman and child that’s capable — and do our part to help fight this enemy, which is COVID.”

He mentioned that although the coronavirus is “unseen,” the virus is “wrecking havoc on our community.”

As he’s done during many other presentations, Jenkins encouraged people to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated.

Only 35 percent of residents are fully vaccinated and 39 percent have received at least one dose, according to state health data. While the county has seen a recent modest uptick in vaccinations of late, the rates have largely remained stagnant for most of the summer.

This comes as cases have continued to surge over the last few months, with the county averaging 58 daily cases last week, up from a daily average of 29 cases the same time last month, according to data from the health department. This current wave is fueled almost entirely by the highly contagious delta variant, which accounts for about 99 percent of all infections in the country.

Jenkins told the commissioners that 31 people were hospitalized as of Tuesday, including 14 people in the intensive care unit. Of those people in the ICU, Jenkins said, 12 have been intubated and are on ventilators to help with breathing.

As a result of the influx of patients, Atrium Health Stanly is “beyond capacity,” Jenkins told the commissioners.

The county has reported 173 breakthrough cases since the beginning of July, which account for less than 10 percent of all COVID-19 cases. Jenkins said only a small handful of these people have required hospitalization and none have died.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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