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Charlotte public health leaders optimistic as businesses fully reopen

On Flashpoint, deputy health director: "The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter."

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As restaurants, stores and museums reopen at near-normal capacity limits across North Carolina, public health officials are displaying a cautious optimism.

"Our trends, in terms of cases and hospitalizations and percent positivity, continue to be low," Dr. Raynard Washington said.  

Washington, the deputy director of the Mecklenburg County Health Department, said his office continues to closely watch the numbers.  There's been a recent plateau in downward progress.

"Our case counts are ticking up just slightly," he said.  

That's why Washington and other public health experts are encouraging the continued use of masks and social distancing.   

In the meantime, the county is getting more vaccines than expected from the state, and it's moving through prioritization groups at a quicker pace.  At this rate, the vaccine will available to all adults in Mecklenburg County by the end of April, Washington estimates.   More rural counties like Davidson and Jackson, have already opened their rollout to everyone.

Currently, there are currently 17 outbreaks in the county.  In January, county peaked at 63 outbreaks.

"Those were really dark days for us," Washington said.  "We have better days ahead," he added. 

You can see Washington's interview on WCNC's Flashpoint, Sunday 11am.


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