Cornelius News–Dave Yochum
With “community spread” under way in Mecklenburg County, officials have announced a stay-at-home directive this afternoon that takes a much more serious step toward enforcing social or physical distancing—and stopping the spread of potentially fatal COVID-19.
Violations could result in a misdemeanor.
The stay-at-home order will be effective at 8 am Thursday. Read it here.
During an open forum telephone conference call with US Rep Alma Adams, it was disclosed that there were more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County, which is the worst hotspot in North Carolina.
“I am hopeful all the citizens of Cornelius will take this order seriously,” said Mayor Woody Washam.
A stay-at-home order is similar to a shelter-in-place but more appropriate for a health emergency as opposed to, for example, a nuclear evennt.
Many businesses will be forced to close, said Dr. Michael Miltich, a physician and town commissioner in Cornelius. There will be an appeal process for business owners who feel their enterprise must remain open.
“Unfortunately too many of us didn’t socially distance. Too many groups of people were still being seen out and about,” Miltich explained.
“This has to stop if we want to limit death from this infection, which, if uncontrolled, will overwhelm our limited hospital resources,” he said.
Ultimately this will lengthen the time it takes to get through the pandemic, “but it will save lives as hospital resources and personnel will be able to keep up with the numbers of people infected,” Miltich said.
You can be infected and have serious symptoms—or not.
Under the stay-at-home order, you can go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store, as well as a pharmacy or doctor. Restaurants can remain open for take-out, delivery or curbside pickkup or drive-in.
It will still be possible to take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog—but not, for example, engage in a full-on basketball game with physical contact.
“Mecklenburg County has far more cases than any other County in North Carolina, and this extra step will keep more people away from each other and begin to flatten the rate of new cases before the hospital system becomes overwhelmed,” said County Heath Director Gibbie Harris.
Gatherings over 10 are prohibited.