WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Brunswick County health officials report a one-week increase of 20% in confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 60% of all cases among younger people age 49 or younger.
In Southport, most people walked about on Friday with masks on or visible in their hands. Signs are posted throughout town along with hand sanitizer stations reminding locals and visitors that the town has it’s own mandatory mask policy in place in conjunction with the state’s.
“If we can all wear masks and we can only save one life in the world then I think it’s well worth everyone wearing a mask,” said David Harkey.
The county has seen a 700% increase in cases since the start of June, roughly six weeks ago.
Health officials continue to attribute the case spike to: community spread, social gatherings and service industry employees.
In a statement, Health Services Director Cris Harrelson warned people of assuming the virus only has dire consequences for the elderly.
“This virus affects everyone differently, so we cannot assume we know how our bodies might react if we are exposed to the virus, no matter how young or healthy you are,” Harrelson said. “Even if you do test positive and have little to no symptoms, you and your family, roommates, friends, and other close contacts you were near recently will likely have to quarantine for 14 days and could get sick themselves, sometimes at more severe levels. These are possibilities we need everyone to consider.”
However, some people still do not agree with the mandate.
”I personally think it’s ridiculous that everybody has to have one on,” said Tony Hussey. “If you’re scared or you are one of the ones that could get it really easily then is your mask not protecting you against me? Why should I have to wear a mask if you’ve got a mask on? That’s just the way I feel. I mean we wear ours when we go places but I just think if you’ve got a mask on then you should be protected just like from me if I have it, if the mask works.”
In Brunswick County there are more active cases (475) right now then there are people considered to be recovered (405).
“I believe that people should take it more seriously, because obviously the things we are doing at this point or not working,” said John Staggers. “When you refuse to wear one and you’re sacrificing the health of somebody else...If you want to sacrifice your own health that’s OK but sacrificing somebody else’s health but to me that’s not acceptable.”
Wilmington Pulmonologist Dr. Brian Legere believes we’ll get out of this pandemic more quickly if everyone cooperates.
“If 80% of people wore masks as recommended that would actually work better at slowing the virus down then a lockdown,” he said.