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Health Department calls on residents to get vaccinated and wear masks

Citing an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases locally, Henderson County’s Board of Health released a letter Wednesday calling on county residents to consider getting vaccinated and to wear a mask to prevent the spread of the disease.

The letter to residents reads:
Dear Henderson County Residents,
My name is Maggie Hayes, Chairperson for the Henderson County Board of Health and a physician with Blue Ridge Community Health Services. With my family, I have been fortunate to serve this community for 11 years.
At our most recent meeting, board members assessed some of the unsettling data about current local trends with COVID-19: exponential increases with daily cases now averaging over 60, a testing positivity rate of more than 20%, increased hospitalizations and greater demand for ICU beds. It was difficult to hear that our community was headed back into another surge.
Your Board of Health’s singular obligation is to promote, protect and advance the health and wellness of our community. When we reviewed the data above, we weren’t thinking about numbers or statistics. We were thinking about individuals, families, neighborhoods and the incredible hardships that everyone has endured over the past 17 months. The pandemic has been more challenging than we could have ever imagined. It has disrupted our lives, limited our social connections and affected our livelihoods.
The amount of information and guidance about protecting yourselves is overwhelming and often confusing. For that reason, the board wants to provide their perspective on only two actions.
First, if you have not been vaccinated, please consider doing so. It is the most effective strategy to protect yourself and others. Talk with your healthcare provider or someone you trust and get credible scientific information to help you with your decision. The overwhelming majority of recent hospitalizations have been people who are not vaccinated. We respect anyone’s decision if they choose not to get vaccinated.
Second, please wear a face covering, whether you are vaccinated or not, if you are not able to physically distance from others and particularly when indoors or around those that have high-risk health conditions. The issue of masking has been particularly challenging due to frequent changes with CDC recommendations. However, our best evidence indicates that wearing a mask protects both the individual wearing it and the people around them.
Our community has always come together to deal with challenges. We don’t have to agree on every aspect of public health strategy. We do have to agree on the importance of protecting everyone and the necessity of providing grace and understanding for each person’s beliefs. The Henderson County Board of Health believes in this community and our collective will to prevail through these hard times.
We are stronger together.
Dr. Maggie Hayes on behalf of the Henderson County Board of Health
The Board of Health consists of 11 members appointed by the Henderson County Board of Commissioners and operates as the governing body of the Department of Public Health. The Board sets policies and procedures and establishes rules and ordinances that enhance and protect the public health of Henderson County. See all Board of Health members here: