What does Phase 1 easing of restrictions mean?By Veita Bland, M.D. / May 14, 2020
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As North Carolina starts the process of easing the COVID-19 restrictions we are hearing from Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state health director, that this state is flattening the curve. She gave credit to the fact that many people have been using social distancing by hunkering down in place.
As we enter Phase 1 of the easing of restrictions, it is important that we continue to practice social distancing and the use of face masks. This does not lift the stay at home feature. What it does though is increase the number of reasons people can leave their homes. It allows people to leave home for non-essential goods and services.
Other important features of this Phase 1 order are that it opens childcare facilities to all working families and encourages state parks and trails that had been closed to be open.
What has not changed is that a gathering of more than 10 people is still prohibited but an outdoor gathering with social distancing of up to 10 people is now allowed.
People are still encouraged to wear cloth face coverings when outside the home. As stated before, people are to still stay in place in the home.
We are to continue social distancing with hand washing and remaining six feet apart.
Playgrounds are still closed as are gyms and health clubs and still no movies, plays, theaters or bowling alleys are allowed open.
No visitation to long-term care facilities except when death is eminent. Still no hair salons, nail salons or barbershops will be open.
As stated by the state COVID-19 task force they will be closely monitoring the number of positive cases, the number of hospitalizations and the number of deaths. If they see an increase in these numbers, Phase 1 could be continued longer than 14 days or rescinded if the numbers so mandate.
It is hoped that the infection numbers will decrease and that in two more weeks we can ease into Phase 2 with further reduction of restrictions.
Guilford County Health Department will now provide COVID-19 community testing. With testing being an especially important part of the monitoring process, Dr. Iulia Vann, interim heath director for Guilford County Division of Public Health, announced the Public Health Department, NCDHHS and commercial laboratories have increased testing capacity. The Health Department and UNC-Greensboro have collaborated to offer this testing to our community.
Individuals wanting to be tested must call (336) 641-7527 and first have pre-screening via phone which will confirm that the person is a candidate for the testing. An appointment will then be made and the individual will be asked to arrive via car to promote social distancing. This testing is available regardless of insurance status. After testing, the results will be available in about three days.
COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic. We must remain vigilant with social distancing, cloth masks, testing and appropriate hygiene. We cannot become tired or soft because given half a chance, this virus will exact an even more devastating death toll than the more than 70,000 American lives already perished by its cruel hands.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.