GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Greensboro is the latest city to sign on as a new round of mask mandates swept across Guilford County this week.
Leaders in Guilford County gathered on Tuesday and reinstated a mask mandate for some parts of Guilford County as North Carolina continues to see records numbers of COVID-19 cases.
The mandate will take effect on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. in unincorporated areas of Guilford County for inside spaces.
The City of Greensboro announced plans to reinstate the mandate for city facilities on Jan. 10.
“It’s imperative for the city to be vigilant and maintain the focus on public safety. I encourage the continued cooperation and understanding from our employees and the public to do their part to help us get through this pandemic,” said Interim City Manager Chris Wilson.
The mayors of Gibsonville, Sedalia, Pleasant Garden and Jamestown have already signed on, reinforcing the mandate.
“We must take immediate efforts to address the rise in the number of COVID-19 positive rates due to the omicron variant,” said Chairman Skip Alston.
On Monday, he called the mayors and asked them to sign on immediately as the daily case percent positive is at 32.3% in the county.
“We have to learn how to deal with it and also how to live with it,” Alston said.
Alston told FOX8 one way of dealing with it includes the return of a mask mandate.
He said with a percent positive six times higher than where health experts want us to be the county is in state of emergency. Hospitals are strained and preparing for an omicron variant peak early next week.
“They are the ones who are caring for the sick, they are the ones who are having to put their patients in the morgue after they die,” Alston said. “They are the ones who have to tend to the patients in the hallways, not in a hospital room.”
Alston said 70 people have died of COVID-19 since the mask mandate was lifted in November 2021.
“I don’t think mandates are the way to go,” Wagner said. “I think we’re far enough into this where people have had the opportunity to get vaccinated, they know what to do, we’re not educating people at this point, they know what to do.”
He feels it should be a personal choice.
“Sooner or later we have to reach the point where we’re comfortable saying that people are able to make their own risk assessments and go about their lives again,” Wagner said.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan told FOX8 she’s committed to working with Guilford County officials through increased, messaging and signage.
She believes just increasing our vaccination rate by 1% will significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Alston told FOX8 the health department is already getting a team together to enforce masking including 14 health inspectors.
“We will have to galvanize our troops again in order to possibly hire more people over the next ten days,” Alston said. “That would give us time to, in order to see how we might be in a position to bring more people on the enforcement team.”