I hope this commentary finds you well, and that you are able to find a silver lining in this unprecedented slowdown of our country due to COVID-19. Who knew that social distancing would become a daily part of our vocabulary?
The town of Swansboro is working with the Governor and Onslow County officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to save lives. As of Monday morning we have one con-firmed case of COVID-19 in Swansboro. This person is recovering at home. We have 35 cases overall in Onslow County and one fatality attributed to COVID-19.
Although our overall numbers are low so far, an increase is expected in the coming weeks. These numbers will likely continue to increase if we do not practice social distancing, frequent hand-washing and sanitizing all surfaces we touch. Please stay home unless you have critical business or personal needs in the community. If you must go out, please go straight to your destination and then home. Please do not gather in groups. And when shopping, please respect other’s personal space inside the stores.
In this stressful and uncertain time, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. We are keeping our parks open for walking and strolling, and we encourage you to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather alone or with those who live in your home. We have closed all of the social gathering places of the park. Please do not use the playground equipment, play areas or picnic areas at this time. Walks around the neighborhood are OK too with appropriate social distancing.
To protect the health and well being of our town staff, we have closed our town offices to the public. Individual appointments can be made if needed. If you have an ONWASA bill, please pay online or drop in the drop box in the town hall parking lot.
Our public safety personnel are fully staffed, and as always, is here to serve and protect you. Please do not engage in activities or create disturbances that will cause them to have to interact with you. We want our police, fire and rescue personnel to be healthy.
Our public works employees have been asked to continue their duties as they relate to accomplishing outdoor goals. Please wave to them and thank them from a distance. They are the ones keeping our facilities and infrastructure in top shape.
In closing, I want to offer some heartfelt and well-deserved accolades.
Thank you to our town manager, Chris Seaberg, and his staff for the excellent work being done to protect our staff and keep operations moving in this crisis.
Thank you to the chairman of the Onslow County Board of Commissioners, Jack Bright, and Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell for their tireless efforts to keep the county safe and operations online.
Thank you to Congressman Greg Murphy for his leadership and involvement in the efforts to support the local communities in Eastern North Carolina.
Thank you to Merrie Jo Alcoke at the governor’s office for fielding so many calls and providing direction for our community.
Thank you to Dr. Helen Gross, principal of Swansboro High School, her staff, area clergy and local volunteers for keeping our students fed during the week: 1,600 meals a day are being provided to our students by these tireless community servants.
I am working with leaders from our local level to the federal level to find the balance between our need for social distancing to save lives, our need to maintain an economy and our need for strong mental health. The more we can stay home now, and the better we become at maintaining social distancing and washing our hands, the quicker we will all get back to work and the better our physical, economic and mental health will be.
Please check on your neighbors, have patience with one another, as stressors are high, and pray for the people of our nation, state, county and community of Swansboro.
John Davis is mayor of Swansboro. The article was originally through a Swansboro “emailblast” on April 9.