Pitt County Health Director encourages distancing, wearing masks July 4th weekend


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Health experts across the East are concerned by rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Pitt County Health Director, Dr. John Silvernail, says there a number of reasons for the increasing numbers.

Theses reasons include more testing and identification.

Pitt County has almost 600 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Silvernail says only 147 are active.

“As we move around, we will continue to see cases,” said Silvernail. “Yes, if you look at it as a rolling average, our numbers are up. Our numbers are also up because there’s been some defined outbreaks in local nursing facilities.”

He says many of the county’s cases are asymptomatic, meaning the patients have and spread the virus without showing symptoms.

Silvernail also says more young people are getting the virus, which is a sign that youth doesn’t make people immune.

“I think some of it is the invincibility of youth,” said Silvernail. “In that 29 to 54 year-old demographic–at the younger end of that–those folks figure hey, I’m not going to get it or if I get it, it’s not going to be that bad.”

With the July Fourth holiday coming up, Silvernail isn’t concerned about people traveling and bringing the virus back to Pitt County.

“I think there’s capacity in our system,” said Silvernail. “I think we’re seeing disease occur at a rate that will allow us to ride this out without overwhelming our health system.”

He says it’s still important to take proper precautions.

“I would continue to be mindful of your social distancing, especially when you’re around folks that you’re not normally around,” he said. “I do encourage and would encourage people to wear masks in public still.”

Silvernail warns people to stay home from Fourth of July celebrations if they can’t practice social distancing and wear a mask.

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