Monthly Archives: July 2020

Roper: Recent COVID infections steady, not spiking

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens County administrator Ken Roper said the COVID-19 pandemic is “the challenge of our time,” but some recent numbers are “cautious good news.”

Roper discussed COVID-19 data during a Facebook Live video Friday morning.

“After Memorial Day, we ramped up with a lot of cases, and this is when we were all getting worried again a couple of weeks back, back in late June and early July,” he said. “Now, the new cases that are coming in seem to be somewhat consistent with the old cases falling off. So that’s really reassuring to us, but it’s something we have to keep watching.”

After the post-Memorial Day spike began to settle, case numbers began to rise again after the Fourth of July, Roper said.

“Maybe those things where we’re gathering

Sorting out the schedules

High school football slates nearly set

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

COUNTY — With the South Carolina High School League’s changes to the fall sports calendar last week, Pickens County high school football teams are beginning to finalize their updated schedules for the shortened season.

The season, which is slated to begin on Sept.11, will feature a seven-game schedule starting with region opponents, followed by four weeks of playoffs, ending with the state championship on Nov.

Virus claims 4 residents at nursing home

COLUMBIA — As spikes in local cases seem to be slowing, state officials reported this week that four residents at a Pickens nursing home have died of COVID-19 in the past 30 days.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s most recent twice-weekly update on the scope of COVID-19 within nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Manna Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center on East Cedar Rock Street in Pickens has had seven confirmed cases of the virus in residents, 13 confirmed cases in staff members and four resident deaths in the past 30 days.

The nursing home has now had seven deaths related to

DHEC: Rabid bat found in Pickens

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — A bat found in Pickens tested positive for rabies, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Found near Mountain View Drive and South Glassy Mountain Church Road, the bat was submitted for testing on July 20 and confirmed to have rabies on July 21, a DHEC release said. The bat is the first animal to test positive for rabies in Pickens County this year, the

Easley pushing mask campaign

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Easley officials are urging local residents and businesses to do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as part of the city’s #MaskUPEasley campaign.

The city is encouraging businesses to ask customers to follow a set of guidelines intended to stop the pandemic as part of the campaign, which urges social distancing, frequent washing of hands and face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

After researching mask requirement ordinances, Easley City Council unanimously passed a resolution July 13 encouraging — but not requiring — residents to wear masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The creation of a public awareness and education

Clemson University’s fall semester to begin online

In-person instruction to start Sept. 21

CLEMSON — Clemson University will not be returning to face-to-face instruction next month, as previously announced.

Instead, the fall semester will begin with online classes.

“Let me be clear: We remain committed to a return to in-person instruction and activities in the fall,” Clemson University president Jim Clements announced in a release issued July 22. “Unfortunately, the progression of COVID-19, particularly in South Carolina and the Upstate region, continues to create a great deal of uncertainty around

Tech president talks return to school

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

PENDLETON — On Monday, Tri-County Technical College president Galen DeHay unveiled to Tech commissioners the academic instruction plans for the fall semester, which is set to begin Aug. 17 with both face-to-face instruction and online classes — and many courses using a mix of the two.

 Because most courses will have a combination of online and on-campus instruction, DeHay said Tech plans to deploy mobile hotspots to students without or unable to afford home internet service. The device and monthly service fee

Leaders, medical professionals: You may be able to save a life

The novel (new) coronavirus that first appeared in 2019 is an entirely new entity for the world to deal with, and new information is being learned about it every day.

We know that humans are the host of the virus, and human-to-human transmission of the virus is the primary mode of spread. It has been made clear that social distancing is the primary means by which transmission can be interrupted.

Our county confirmed our first case of COVID-19 back in March 2020, and for the remainder of March, April and into May, widespread closures on a statewide level kept people at home, and the newness of the threat kept us all diligent about washing our hands and keeping our distance from others. Once restrictions were lifted, we relaxed, and from that point on we have seen the number of new cases increase at a rate that cannot be explained by an increase in testing alone.

Our county has now confirmed more than 1,500 cases of COVID-19 and we have sadly lost at least 17 Pickens County citizens to this disease.

Mitigation of the spread of the virus has become the key focus of both government and civilian entities. Political elements have sidetracked the response to COVID-19 in many cases. The most difficult task decision-makers at various levels of governance face with their response to this virus is developing a balance of maintaining people’s physical and mental health and their financial health as well.

While we know that widespread closures are not financially sustainable for long periods of time, how can we continue to slow the spread now that we are “open” again? In addition to hand washing and social distancing, face masks have been another means by which transmission can be curtailed.

Masks are a point of contention for many people. Myths have surrounded their use, but a properly fitting homemade cloth mask or a commercially made mask can keep an individual who has the virus but is asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic from spreading it to others.

Wearing a mask effectively prevents potentially virus-infected respiratory droplets from your mouth and nose from traveling as far as they would without that barrier. It is true that wearing a mask does more to protect your neighbor than it does to protect you. Yet isn’t that what our community is all about — loving and caring for our neighbors?

On July 8, Pickens Mayor Fletcher Perry, Pickens city administrator Philip Trotter, Pickens City Councilman Patrick Lark, Pickens County administrator Ken Roper and medical professionals from our community, Dr. Mike Dillard, RN Sharon Stark, and Dr. Jim Mahanes, met at Pickens City Hall to discuss the best way for the city of Pickens and the larger community of Pickens County to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Local leaders listened to local medical experts, who are known and trusted because of their reputation in our community and the years of experience they have amassed serving our community’s health needs. The group agreed that staying home when possible, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene and mask wearing are the best tools for our community. Furthermore, it was agreed that our community’s deep-seated sense of caring for others will be vital in the fight against COVID-19.

While the summer months offer us the opportunity to enjoy outside activities and studies have suggested heat and humidity and open aeration can suppress the virus’ lifespan on surfaces, it has no affect on the transmission of the virus from person to person. Cases statewide and nationwide continue to increase; therefore, protective measures are more important than ever.

The virus is going to be with us for an unknown span of time, so vigilance in mitigating efforts must continue until a vaccine is available. “Operation Warp Speed” by the government has promising reports that one may be available in early 2021. Until then, the only way we can reduce the number of individuals who contract this virus is by watching out for one another. We know that if you have chronic diseases, your risk for poor outcomes with COVID-19 increases, and the more chronic diseases you have, the greater your risk.

You may be under the impression that this illness is not much different than a cold, and while it may be the case that if you caught it you would experience mild symptoms and get over it in a matter of days or weeks, that may not be the case for your friend you saw at the grocery store and chatted with for 15 minutes. It also may not be the case for the elderly man or woman in your church, or the person with underlying health conditions in line with you at the post office.

However, if you decide to wear a mask, you can protect all those people who may not fare as well if they catch this virus, and you may even save a life.

As a community that is experiencing known community transmission of COVID-19, we need to act together to prevent the spread of disease. Being considerate of others and treating others the way we want to be treated are dearly held beliefs of our community. It is more important than ever to put these long-held convictions into practice, and at times put the needs of others before our own comfort. Consider your family, friends, coworkers or the person you pass in a store.

If we prevent the spread to just one vulnerable person, then the inconvenience of prevention is well worth it. We have the opportunity to be courteous and respectful of our neighbors by considering their health and well-being in addition to our own. Wearing a mask is a selfless act. It shows that you care about your neighbor.

As we continue to battle this virus, we strongly encourage you to frequently wash your hands with soap and hot water for a minimum of 20 seconds, stay at least six feet away from others, and yes, wear a mask, especially when you are in an environment in which it is difficult to maintain social distancing guidelines.

If you feel sick, stay home, and if you experience symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider. These are the best practices we can use to limit the impact COVID-19 will have on our community. Please be diligent in these practices for yourself, for your family and for your neighbors.

Dr. Mike Dillard, MD

Patrick Lark, Pickens city councilman

Dr. Jim Mahanes, MD

Fletcher Perry, Pickens mayor

Ken Roper, Pickens County administrator

Sharon L. Stark, RN, CIC

Philip Trotter, Pickens city administrator


Change is just around the corner

No one could have imagined that 2020 would look like this. Our economy was booming, unemployment numbers were down and we were looking forward to the warmer months here in South Carolina. Then came one calamity after another, and the world seemingly came to a halt.

In a year already filled with so much loss, the passing of my good friend John Lewis is yet another devastating blow to our nation.

I first remember meeting him in 2011. The civil rights icon himself brought me, just a newly elected

A bath for the reluctant bather

Boomer is a lovely dog. He’s affectionate, obedient, (most of the time), intelligent and patient, and he seldom barks. All great attributes.

He’s large — 80 pounds — but so cooperative that his size has never posed a problem. We all love him and want him to enjoy the best of health. That’s one of the reasons we invested in a very expensive flea collar that is supposed to work for six months.

We’ve used this type of collar for a while, with good results. But suddenly, in the last month, something has gone terribly wrong. Boomer is covered in fleas. They are driving him crazy, and so I thought it would be a good thing to give him a bath using the “special” flea and tick shampoo, also expensive, we bought for this