PPE on the way to farmers; mask refusals ‘selfish’; Horry COVID deaths reach 84

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     Farm needs across North Carolina, including Columbus County, are being addressed with the distribution of personal protective equipment announced by Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday.

     Gov. Cooper also had some stern words for those who won’t wear a mask during the pandemic.

     Across the state line in Horry County the COVID-19 toll continues to climb, with two more lives lost and nearly 200 new case confirmations reported.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • State is sending PPE to farmers, Columbus among the first
  • ‘Selfish,’ Governor says of those who refuse masks
  • COVID-19 claims two more in Horry, infects nearly 200

State is sending PPE to farmers, Columbus among the first

     Farmworkers from Columbus County will be receiving some of the first new shipments of personal protective equipment from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

     Meanwhile, there was no significant disease activity in Columbus County reported by the state Tuesday. Columbus County Health Department will issue its second of two weekly updates Thursday.

     “Agriculture is vital to our economy and food supply and it is critical that we protect farmworkers and their families from this virus,” Gov. Roy Cooper said as he announced action in response to COVID-19 outbreaks among the agricultural workforce Tuesday.

     More than 900,000 mask and other infection control supplies are being sent to Cooperative Extension offices across the state for distribution to local farms. Columbus is among 31 counties selected to receive the first shipments, Cooper said, because they are home to three-fourths of the state’s farmers.

     Farmworkers are deemed an essential workforce, which prompted the safety effort. Hand sanitizer and cloth face coverings for workers to take home are also included in the shipments.

     “As always, we at your we at your local NC Cooperative Extension in Columbus County are committed to supporting our farmers,” Dockery said. “We are going to make sure these materials are distributed to our local farmers, farm workers, farm operations and agriculture related services/entities.”

     Extension offices are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but farmers and farm owners may make appointments to arrange a time to pick up those supplies, starting next week.

     “Farmers, farmworekrs and agricultural operations can call in starting Monday, July 27,” Dockery said. “As we receive additional information on supplies, we will be providing an update.”

     To call for an appointment, starting next week, call 910-640-6605.

     “Many of our farmworkers live in group housing, putting them at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. Providing masks is one way we are helping to protect workers,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

     NCDHHS is partnering with N.C. Cooperative Extension, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), the N.C. Department of Labor (NCDOL) and the N.C. Agromedicine Institute to expedite a delivery plan and raise awareness about this resource among the farming community.

     “Some of these supplies have been difficult for farmers to source as demand has exceeded supply. I am grateful that farmworkers and farmers have been prioritized for these much-needed materials,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The health of our farmers and farmworkers is very important because we all rely on them every day.”

     Counties selected to receive the first delivery, in addition to Columbus, are Alamance, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Bladen, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Henderson, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Martin, Mecklenburg, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake, Wayne, and Wilson.

‘Selfish,’ Governor says of those who refuse masks

     Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday had stern words for those who defy his order to wear a mask in public across North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic.

     “Refusal to wear a mask is selfish,” Gov. Cooper said during a news briefing on state’s response to the coronavirus. “It infringes on the life and liberty of everyone in the store.”

     Gov. Cooper and state Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mandy Cohen have been consistent in their message on the importance of mask wearing as part of the “3 Ws” designed to slow the spread of the highly infectious virus.

     Wear a mask, wait at least six feet apart, and wash your hands often are critical to helping to prevent disease spread, both have said.

 COVID-19 claims two more in Horry, infects nearly 200

     For the third day in a row new state data shows two additional Horry County deaths related to COVID-19.

     Data from South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control Tuesday also showed 190 county residents newly testing positive for the coronavirus, bringing the pandemic total for the county to 6,971, with 84 deaths.

     None of the newly confirmed cases were from the Loris or Green Sea Zip Codes, those pandemic totals 400 and 32 respectively.

     Statewide South Carolina reported 1,815 new COVID cases and 56 new deaths, bringing the pandemic totals to 73,101 and 1,203 respectively.

     DHEC remained unable to accurately report hospitalizations, it said, as it transitions from a CDC based reporting system to a new system ordered by The White House. Partial data the state was able to obtain indicated the 1,593 of the state’s residents hospitalized due to COVID-19, the same number as the last detailed report showed on July 17.

Updates

     Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.