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Currituck County sees downward trend in COVID cases, upward for community growth

By Summer Stevens

Monday’s Currituck County Board of Commissioners meeting opened up with a Corolla resident’s public comment regarding continuing the community curbside recycling program in Corolla, scheduled to be discontinued April 4. She has collected over five hundred signatures in support of continuing the recycling. The current program costs $39 per year, and the county is planning on offering an opt-in service, which, according to the resident, will end up costing the residents more. According to county manager Ben Stikeleather, Bay Disposal will be offering curbside pickup for $16.67 per month if individuals would like to continue service after April 4.

Commissioners Mary “Kitty” Etheridge, Kevin E. McCord and Selina S. Jarvis urged community members to volunteer with Meals on Wheels. “Meals on Wheels has become a very personal program for me,” said Jarvis.

According to Jarvis, this is an essential program for seniors, especially in light of the COVID restrictions and the isolation many seniors are experiencing.

“If you can volunteer and you have time, please do,” she said.

Chairman Mike Payment gave an update on COVID statistics for the county. Confirmed lab cases number 1373; current active cases are 18; 1340 recovered; 15 deaths. “Current active cases is very positive, we are seeing a downward trend,” Payment said.

Going into tourist season and schools starting again, Payment was encouraged to see the numbers going down. “Out of 30,000 residents, we have eighteen, so we’re doing something right,” added McCord.

There were 450 shots available Wednesday for distribution for county residents at the YMCA.

Vice Chairman Paul Beaumont reported that the recent house fire in the county, where one individual died, did not have a working smoke detector in the home. “I cannot implore how important it is,” he said. If community members cannot afford to purchase a smoke detector, the fire department has a program where they will provide one, according to Beaumont.

Stikeleather reported that the county onboarded five new employees to work at the vaccine clinics; twelve more are ready to be onboarded. They have accepted over forty applications and Stikeleather encouraged more people to apply. The greatest staffing need is for data entry and call center operators. “It is a very labor-intensive part of the clinics,” he said. The county is looking for someone to work eight hours several days a week doing data entry or working at call centers.

Stikeleather then updated the board on several major construction projects in progress: the Maritime Museum in Corolla is scheduled for a grand opening by the fourth of July; the walkovers at Whalehead Public Beach; and a new park in Moyock Shingle Landing, that, despite all the rain, is making great progress, in the playground, walkways and gazebo.

On March 22, all county staff will return to regular in-person hours. The public is still encouraged to make appointments and do business online when possible.

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