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Bladen Online Week in Review: May 17-23

There was an increase in COVID-19 testing capabilities and, therefore, more confirmed cases in Bladen County. Gov. Roy Cooper eased restrictions, allowing barber shops and salons to reopen. Bladen County Schools finalized high school graduation plans. Those stories were among the news last week in Bladen County.

Bladen County had 92 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday afternoon, according to Health and Human Services Director Dr. Terri Duncan. Two additional testing sites are expected to open over the next two weeks to go along with COVID-19 testing available at area clinics and a drive-thru site in the Walmart parking lot in Elizabethtown.

Gov. Cooper’s executive order that eased some restrictions went into effect Friday at 5 p.m. Phase 2 of the state’s plan allowed restaurants to offer dine-in service, personal care businesses to reopen and pools to reopen at 50% capacity. Mass gatherings are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. The order keeps closed bars, night clubs, gyms and indoor fitness facilities and indoor entertainment venues.

Safety concerns because of the virus has resulted in Bladen County Schools adjusting high school graduation plans. East and West Bladen high schools will offer two opportunities for seniors to participate in graduation: One will be a drive-in ceremony and one will be an inside, individual ceremony.

When will high school and youth sports return to play? The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services published guidelines for the possible resumption of activities, but the governor’s executive order limiting mass gatherings would mean that training would have to be done in small group settings. The N.C. High School Athletic Association is expected to discuss the issue next week.

In other news,

Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day. Bladen Online spoke with veterans Dr. Ophelia Munn-Goins (pictured, left) and Dennis Troy (pictured, right) about what the day means to them as the nation remembers those who died in military service to the United States.

Here’s a story you don’t read every day. Bladen County Sheriff’s Office 911 Telecommunicator Jasmine Collins helped deliver a baby. A woman was in labor and unable to get to the hospital in time. Collins (pictured, above) was able to talk the brother of the woman through the process and a baby girl was delivered without any problems, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The White Oak Dike in Kelly was severely damaged during Hurricane Florence in 2018 which resulted in severe flooding in the area. Several groups have worked together to make repairs. Bladen County Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson announced during the week that work continues, but “needed steps are happening.”

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced there would be no criminal charges against Chemours in a Clean Water Act case involving its Fayetteville Works plant in Bladen County.

In sports,

East Bladen senior Gabe Barber was named a winner of the 2020 Wilburn Clary Medal Scholarship that is given by the N.C. High School Athletic Association. He will receive a one-time $2,000 scholarship and a commemorative plaque. The scholarship is given annually to recognize an outstanding male and female student-athlete that participates in at least two NCHSAA-sanctioned sports.

Stay safe and enjoy the week ahead.

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