coronavirus

Mayor P.J. Connelly speaks during a Pitt County conference about Coronavirus concerns. 

COVID-19 is expected to peak in deaths in the next two to three weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the confirmed cases increase, so may the restrictions set on communities as city officials stress the importance of self quarantine.

Mayor of Greenville, P.J. Connelly issued a Stop the Spread Order that began March 26, at 5 p.m. until April 10. The Pitt County website said this order is meant to prevent or slow the spread of coronavirus throughout the community. The order directed all Greenville residents to stay at home and limit time outside of their homes unless it is to obtain essential needs.

Connelly said that social distancing has helped the community not spread the disease as quickly. He said that the CDC and the Pitt County health director have recommended social distancing and he and city leaders agreed to spread the message to maintain distance and wash your hands regularly.

“We passed the Stop the Spread order yesterday (March 26) and most of the businesses here are considered essential and are still operating. Basically what we’re asking people to do is go to work and then go home, if you need to go out to a local grocery store, you can go out to a local grocery store or if you need to go get medicine from your pharmacy you are welcome to do that,” Connelly said.

Many health professionals recommended to take action early to help prevent a large amount of people being infected at one time, according to Connelly. He said if everyone was to get infected all at once it would overload the hospital system as well as creating more economic loss.

Connelly said the Greenville economy is struggling right now. National unemployment at 3.28 million people filed for unemployment in one week and Connelly said this was one of the highest numbers the United States has seen. Unemployment benefits are changing now he said because of the virus.

“I don’t think anyone can predict that (bouncing back). One of these health professionals that I talked to reminded me said many of these viruses that we’ve seen have been around for years and they’ve been able to study them for years. Essentially they have known about this virus for a little over three months so they’ve been able to study it for three months and they don’t know the extent of what this virus will do,” Connelly said.

Health professionals don’t know if the virus will mutate or die down when it gets warmer and comes back, Connelly said. There’s a lot of uncertainty with what will happen in the future. He said he is hopefully however that these personal sacrifices will contain the spread so everything can flourish again.

On March 27, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 121, which is a stay at home order to help prevent the spread of the virus.This order started March 30 at 5 p.m. and will remain in effect for thirty days and states that individuals should stay at home and only leave home only for essential activities.

The order states that only essential businesses and operations are able to run. These include health care providers, grocery stores, take out and delivery restaurants, not-for-profit organizations, human services operations, essential government operations, media and more essential services, according to the order.

Meredith Hawke, the interim executive director for Uptown Greenville said she encourages the community to grab takeout, buy unique gifts from retailers, or purchase gift cards to support local businesses once the restrictions are lifted.

"Uptown businesses have adapted to the changes in place. Many offer curbside pickup and delivery easing the process of supporting our local businesses," Hawke said.

To stay updated on the virus go to the CDC site and to stay updated on North Carolina and local information go to the NCDHHS and the Pitt County site.

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