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COVID-19 Numbers Continue to Spike in Gaston County; Leaders Encourage Adherence to 3 Ws

GASTONIA, N.C. – Gaston County leaders continue to be concerned with the rise in COVID-19 cases in the county, and are re-emphasizing the need today for residents to take this public health crisis seriously and practice the 3 Ws – Wear, Wait and Wash.

Gaston County’s total active case count reached an all-time high on Tuesday, and daily positive totals are five and six times higher than what the County experienced just six weeks ago. In addition, the County’s percentage positive rate has more than tripled – from just over 5 percent in mid-May to more than 17 percent this week.

Additionally, Gaston County had its 13th COVID-19 death overnight.

County leadership – including County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle, Board of Commissioners Chairman Tracy Philbeck and Public Health Director Steve Eaton – continue to meet regularly with CaroMont Health CEO Chris Peek to discuss the coronavirus and strategies to combat the rise of case in Gaston County.

“This is more than just more testing being done,” Eaton said. “Our percent of folks testing positive has risen significantly. We know folks are tired of hearing it, but we can curb so much of the spread of this disease if our citizens will practice our 3 Ws and take the face covering requirement seriously.”

Eaton warned that while younger people appear to be less likely to die from COVID-19 than those with compromised immune systems or those with underlying health conditions, that doesn’t mean it is harmless for them.

“While young adults might think they can just get sick and get over it, what’s concerning is we don’t know what the long-term impacts of COVID are going to be for folks down the road,” Eaton said. “Nobody should be taking this virus lightly.”

Philbeck said that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with the idea of a face covering mandate, he strongly believes citizens should be doing all they can to protect themselves and one another to help beat back the virus.

“We have worked so hard to put many people back to work,” Philbeck said. “Not doing simple acts of caring like observing social distancing and wearing a mask not only potentially puts you and those you are around at risk, but it makes it that much harder for us to recover from this crisis.”

County staff is working behind the scenes to create a targeted advertising campaign to broaden awareness about the need for wearing face coverings and practicing the 3 Ws. More details about that campaign will be released in the days ahead.

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