Our Opinion: Wilson agencies work to prevent coronavirus cases

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THUMBS UP to Wilson County’s public and private agencies working to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading by sharing a common-sense prevention message without stoking fear.

As of this writing, no one in Wilson County has tested positive for COVID-19. The Wilson County Health Department is taking proactive steps to ensure the virus doesn’t bring Wilson to its knees if it does turn up here.

“Please be assured that your local medical community is working together to ensure the safety and well-being of all Wilson County residents,” Health Director Teresa Ellen told Times reporter Olivia Neeley.

Health officials advise residents to practice frequent hand-washing, avoid touching their faces, cover all coughs and sneezes, stay home when they’re ill and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. That’s good advice that can also help guard against the flu and other viruses.

Wilsonians should take the coronavirus seriously, but you needn’t worry yourself sick. Sydney Wilkinson, infection prevention coordinator at Wilson Medical Center, said 80% of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have experienced mild symptoms and didn’t need to be hospitalized.

Wilson County Schools Superintendent Lane Mills said it best in a letter distributed to parents on Monday: “I want to remind everyone that prevention, not panic, is the best response.”

With the health department, hospital, school system and other agencies on alert, we can make sure good hygiene is part of our daily routines and continue living our lives with due caution, but not with undue fear.

THUMBS DOWN to the thief or thieves who pilfered several large, heavy planters and the bright flowers they contained from outside Music & More Studio and Promotions.

Studio owner Crissy Oravits told the Times she discovered the theft on March 1. A group of special needs students who take music lessons and participate in enrichment projects at Music & More had planted the flowers. Children had also placed artwork inside the planters.

“Some don’t have the capacity to understand,” Oravits said. “The ones who are physically handicapped and have the capacity to understand, they cried all day.”

While there’s no excuse for stealing others’ property, we’d wager the perpetrator(s) didn’t know the sentimental value those flowers and that artwork held. If word has made it back to whoever’s responsible, we hope he, she or they do the decent thing and return what was stolen.

THUMBS UP to the health science students gearing up for the nation’s largest one-day high school blood drive at Wilson’s own Fike High on Thursday.

The annual project is a feather in Fike’s cap that can help save hundreds of lives. The goal is 500 pints, but organizers say the blood drive has previously broken the 700-pint barrier. Wouldn’t it be exciting for community members to help Fike set a new record in 2020?

Blood donation is one of the easiest and most meaningful ways for people to help others in need. You don’t have to be wealthy or commit dozens of volunteer hours. All it takes is a giving spirit and a small time commitment to change someone’s life.

Fike will host the blood drive from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. That range of time allows folks to plan their blood donation for before or after work. If you want to donate blood on your lunch break, consider participating in the American Red Cross’ Rapid Pass system, which allows donors to answer their health history questionnaire online and shave up to 15 minutes off the donation process.

Take time to give the gift of life on Thursday — and keep the biggest-in-the-nation title right here in Wilson County.

THUMBS UP to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office for seeking recognition from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. If evaluators agree that deputies are using best practices and meeting quality standards, the sheriff’s office will join the Wilson Police Department as a CALEA-accredited agency.

Sheriff Calvin Woodard recently announced a public information session scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 23 in the county commissioners’ chambers at Wilson County’s Miller Road office building. The meeting will allow county residents to share their impressions of the sheriff’s office with CALEA evaluators.

We hope Wilson County residents will attend the meeting to provide feedback about the sheriff’s office. Those unable to attend can provide comments to the assessment team by phone — call 252-265-8435 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on March 23.