Cluster of cases a harsh reminder


In the past six days the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Macon County has risen from seven to 18.

Macon County Public Health officials confirmed that a “cluster” of positive cases has been traced back to a specific church.

According to MCPH, seven members of the Evangelical Ebenezer’s congregation have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive. The remaining members of the church have been contacted for testing and the church has been given guidance on the proper disinfecting procedures that must be completed at the church facility.

The North Carolina Department of Public Health defines a cluster of COVID-19 cases as being “a minimum of five positive tests with illness onset or confirmed test results in a period of 14 days or less with a plausible linkage between cases.”

Whether or not a member of the public has ever set foot in the Evangelical Ebenezer’s facility, the linked cases show that no one is out of the woods when it comes to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, May 22, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper moved the state into “phase two” of his plan to reopen the state’s economy by allowing multiple sectors of business to reopen. Restaurants can now allow dine-in service as long as they maintain social distancing via decreased seating capacity, barbershops and beauty salons can reopen as long as they take the proper precautions, and travel is no longer limited to “essential” trips.

It’s easy to feel like life is getting back to normal as regulations begin to relax and more activities become available to enjoy. That does not mean it’s okay to be reckless or behave as if the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

As of Tuesday, there have been 23,964 confirmed cases in North Carolina, with 754 of those ending in death. There are 627 COVID-19 positive patients currently hospitalized statewide. There were 742 new cases confirmed on Monday alone.

Whether dining out, shopping at local retailers, or simply continuing to stay at home, take the proper precautions. Continue increased hand washing, clean and sanitize common surfaces regularly, avoid handshakes and other personal contact, keep a safe social distance and lets all do our part to slow the spread of coronavirus.