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City of Winston-Salem state of emergency to remain in place

Mayor Allen Joines intends to keep the state of emergency in place he declared in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — City of Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines plans to keep in place the state of emergency declared in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joines said he intends to keep the state of emergency in place even if Gov. Roy Cooper lifts his state of emergency declaration for North Carolina next week.

“Forsyth County remains in the high-risk category, and our case numbers are still high,” he said. “I have consulted with our local medical experts and we agree that for now, the prudent course of action is to keep the local state of emergency in effect.”

Joines said keeping the state of emergency in place allows the flexibility of taking quick measures should it be necessary to protect the public health.

“The latest variants are more contagious than before, and this is reflected in the number of new cases that are being reported weekly,” Dr. Christopher Ohl, with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Infectious Diseases said. “We don’t know what the fall will bring, and the state of emergency is an important tool that the mayor needs to keep at his disposal.”

Director of the Forsyth County Department of Public Health Joshua Swift is urging Winston-Salem residents to stay up to date on their vaccinations, get tested if sick and wear masks indoors if they are at high-risk or concerned about catching COVID-19.

“The latest variants have resulted in more cases among the vaccinated,” Swift said. “However, the chance of you getting seriously ill is greatly reduced if you have been vaccinated and boosted.”

Joines issued the state of emergency declaration on March 13, 2020.

“He has subsequently issued 13 amendments to that initial declaration in response to changing circumstances over the course of the pandemic,” the city wrote in a news release.

The most recent amendment, issued Feb. 28, lifted the city-wide mask mandate but kept the state of emergency in effect, according to city officials.

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