MESSAGE FROM EMA DIRECTOR SHAWN ROGERS:
Ok ladies and gentlemen, I have received numerous questions about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Cherokee County, so I wanted to take a few minutes and provide some education about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself and others.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus causing an infection in the lungs which typically results in the development of pneumonia. COVID-19 has numerous common symptoms associated with it such as but not limited to:
Difficulty Breathing or Shortness of Breath
COVID-19 is expelled from the body in respiratory droplets produced by:
Forcefully expelling air from the lungs in instances such as singing or yelling/screaming.
If you’re infected and cough or sneeze on your hands and then shake hands with someone else before you disinfect or sanitize your hands then you’ve spread the virus. If the person you spread it to then touches his/her face before disinfecting or sanitizing their hands, the chances of them introducing the virus into their body is very high.
WASH YOUR HANDS AND USE HAND SANITIZER OFTEN!!!
COVID-19 is introduced into the body in 3 ways:
Social distancing is very important to combating and reducing the spread of COVID-19 as once the virus is expelled from the body, it can then stay airborne for a couple of minutes before falling to the ground or onto a surface. The virus, once expelled, typically travels up to 3-4 feet from the body which is why the 6 feet social distancing guideline is very critical to follow.
IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD AS SOMEONE YOU’RE AROUND THEN YOU NEED TO STAY A CONSTANT 6 FEET AWAY FROM THEM.
Masks or face coverings are also an important part to reducing the spread of COVID-19. If you can maintain a consistent 6 foot of distance between you and someone else then a mask isn’t necessarily needed however, if you can’t ensure that you will be able to maintain the constant 6 foot distance then you need to wear a mask or face covering.
Why you ask… Well lets start off by explaining the different types of masks and what they do then I will answer the question of why.
Types of masks include:
N-95 Respirator (there are numerous different types of respirator masks but the N-95 in this application is most common so we will explain it):
An N-95 is a respirator mask. N stand for non oil resistant. 95 stands for 95% filtration of particles. An N-95 mask protects “you from them”.
Surgical / Procedure mask (“ear loop”):
A surgical/procedure mask is a 3 ply pleated mask that with elastic ear loops. A surgical mask is not a respirator and provides little to no filtration of small or microscopic airborne particles. The purpose of the of the surgical mask is to provide a barrier that blocks your respiratory droplets from becoming airborne. The surgical mask protects “them from you”.
Homemade Face Covering:
A homemade face covering is a mask that you make at home. No one can attest to how it’s made however it’s intended to serve the same purpose as to provide a barrier to stop respiratory droplets from becoming airborne. A homemade face covering is designed to protect “them from you”.
With that being said, if you can’t maintain a constant 6 foot distance between you and someone else (doesn’t live in the same house as you) then you need to wear a mask.
Masks aren’t necessary inside a vehicle while your driving. Masks aren’t necessary while your only around people that live in your household.
Masks are necessary if you’re around people that don’t live with you and you can’t maintain a constant 6 foot distance.
You ask…why have our cases spiked over the last couple of weeks?
Answer: Because we as a county have become complacent. We have forgotten that just 6 weeks ago everything was shut down and now we have tried to go back to our normal daily lives as they were before. Folks, we will never go back to the lives we had before. You might as well get use to the new normal and accept the change.
We have elderly citizens who are scared. We have immunocompromised citizens who are scared. We have people that can’t take care of themselves, who are scared. We as a county need to respect those people and do what needs to be done to keep them safe. Those who are worried about the virus aren’t “sheep”… They’re human beings who have a reason to be worried. Just because you aren’t worried doesn’t mean that everyone shouldn’t be. This is a virus that we don’t know a lot about yet. We’re still learning new things about it every day. I ask that everyone have compassion for your fellow citizens, the vulnerable, the immunocompromised, and if you can’t maintain a constant 6 foot distance while in public, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands.
Personal responsibility and personal choice is still a real thing. Make responsible decisions!
As always, if you have questions or need information please don’t hesitate to call the Emergency Management Agency at 256-927-3367. If it’s an EMERGENCY call 911.
Director Shawn Rogers
Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency
Office of Homeland Security