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Many of us here in eastern North Carolina know and love someone who has a chronic disease like hypertension or diabetes. 

These, and other chronic conditions, are all too prevalent in our communities, especially in older people. 

As COVID-19 cases continue to escalate across the country it has become painfully obvious that our loved ones with chronic conditions, especially in older populations, are particularly vulnerable to this virus. 

Cases continue to increase in the state, in our region and here in our local community. 

The risk is the highest it has ever been and the virus is spreading. 

(To learn how to make a homemade cloth mask, how to take care of a mask or wear one properly, visit this link. For more information on Vidant’s response to COVID-19 and how we are protecting patients and team members, visit this link)

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we must continue to prioritize and protect the most vulnerable among us. 

Wearing a mask in public is an important step in helping control the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our loved ones. 

We have all worked together in recent weeks to keep the curve flat by practicing social distancing, washing hands and avoiding large crowds. 

Now that our economy is reopening and we are seeing an increase in spread, we must continue to practice these safety measures and make them a priority. 

Masks are especially important when social distancing is not possible, when entering or exiting businesses and for employees who interact with customers. 

Masking allows us to open local businesses safely.

These are unprecedented times and eastern North Carolina is resilient. 

Our success at keeping COVID-19 from spreading is dependent on our commitment to continue working together and taking simple steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the communities we care about.

Thank you for continuing to stand up for eastern North Carolina.