Franklin County Health Director Scott Lavigne spoke Friday as a last-ditch effort to stop the march.
Lavigne said he was frustrated with the whole thing. He called the march a “high risk” event, warning that it could exacerbate the problem for health care providers.
Hundreds of people showed up for the parade on Saturday.
Among them, Aaron Gillingham of Wake Forest went to Youngsville with his friends to support the decision of Mayor Fonseca Flowers.
“I think it’s awesome,” Killingham said.
The march route seemed crowded, but Gillingham and his crew chose not to wear masks.
Health leaders are concerned that the logic in Youngsville could cause a COVID-19 spike.
“We have positively tested children under the age of 4. We have seen 35 people die of the virus in our district. We have seen thousands infected. This will stifle the already affected health sector,” Lavigne said.
Mayor Fonseca Flowers said, “If a Wal-Mart, a destination, a Lowes, a home depot – if they could keep the number of people in their store in an enclosed environment we could certainly have a couple hundred Youngsville residents along our march route.”
“I felt very safe, of course. More than six feet of space,” Gillingham said. “This is a difficult year for everyone, so I think we need to remember that kindness is important.”
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Youngsville and Franklin County officials will hold an emergency meeting Friday morning as some delegates are doubling down on hosting the much-anticipated Christmas parade this weekend.
As of Thursday night, the march was proceeding as scheduled on Saturday morning. If held, the parade could attract a large crowd, which is the only Christmas parade in the area. The large crowd includes many health professionals and district officials.
The risk of the spread of COVID-19 has intensified in recent days, with the government on Thursday breaking records of new cases and single-day hospital admissions. Those increases have come as health officials put a stop to further increases in the wake of Thanksgiving meetings.
The Franklin County Department of Health said it has submitted two requests to cancel the march. Neither was successful.
The mayor of the Town of Youngsville, Fancy Flowers, responded to a health consultant on Thursday night, “If a Wal-Mart, a destination, a Lowes, a home depot – in a closed environment if they could keep the number of people in their store, we would certainly have two hundred Youngsville residents on our march route. Can contain. “
Flowers said he was well aware that the epidemic was going on, but hoped it would be a difficult year and that the Christmas parade would be a beacon of hope.
“At the end of the day, we try to do something positive, try to make a difference, give people hope,” Flowers said.
On Wednesday afternoon, the director of the Franklin County Department of Health sent another request to Youngsville City, Urges city officials to cancel the Christmas parade scheduled for the morning of December 5th.
This is the second letter from Director of Health Scott Lavigne – the first of which was sent over the weekend of Thanksgiving.
The original letter asked the city to submit to the health department a plan showing how the march would be conducted in accordance with the guidelines for controlling the spread of COVID-19. It said the health department could force a public health immediate risk reduction order to put an end to the march if the city did not provide a plan.
The letter on Wednesday said: “We urge the city of Youngsville to reconsider (the decision to hold the parade) and cancel the parade or substantially change it to comply with additional guidelines …”
The health department asked for a list of organizations participating in the march to assess the number of visitors, a written plan for how the city will ensure the face is covered, and a written plan for how the city will ensure the social distance of visitors.
City commissioners announced earlier this week that they plan to move forward with the march, incorporating “various COVID-19 mitigation measures.”
The board said the decision came after “great community support to continue”.
The The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the highest number COVID-19 cases in the state on Thursday – 5,637.
The city insisted that those with COVID-19 symptoms or those at high risk or high risk should stay home and not attend the march.
Individuals attending the march were asked to socially stay away and cover their faces.
“For those with continuous reservations, we would like to share that – when using the standards established in our Governor’s Administrative Orders regarding the per-square-foot limit for retail outlets – the” capacity “of our 18.2-acre march route will be five times the population of Youngsville,” the board said. “Thus, we hope that the marchers will have a safe and successful march when they observe the physical distance and spread (along with all other directions) along the march route.”
The governor’s current order restricts outdoor meetings to 50.
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