June 4, 2021 Transcript

This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport.  I would like to talk to you today concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United States has reached a grim milestone of 600,000 deaths from COVID-19. There have been 33 million cases and we mourn each death, we are grateful for every person who survived and we remember that for many, the lingering effects of their illness continues.

In reviewing months of data with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic in preparation for the Department of Medicine Meeting at Dosher Hospital of which I am chair, and as your Mayor, as an Emergency Room physician with a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I have evaluated the following:  a decline in COVID-19 cases in North Carolina from 6,487 on January 3, 2021 to 481 cases on June 3, 2021; in Brunswick County the first two weeks of January 2021 there were 1038 cases down to 98 cases the last two weeks of May; deaths in North Carolina from COVID–19, January 4th  there were 124 deaths to three deaths on June 1, 2021; in Brunswick County the seven day average for cases was five and the seven day average for deaths was zero this past week.

As for vaccination rates, the percent population 65 years of age and older that are fully vaccinated is 77 percent in North Carolina and in Brunswick County, 51 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose.

These major improvements, especially in Brunswick County, which has lifted its State of Emergency, and as of 4:50 PM yesterday, the county has released its last weekly briefing packet on COVID-19, I have concluded, based on the science, the data, the vaccination rate, and the best information to date, and based on my training and education, I have made the decision that the State of Emergency in Southport is rescinded and lifted with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately and the city will continue to follow the guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Governor’s Emergency  Executive Orders.

I have previously stated that as the pandemic changes, we will adapt and evolve, which we have done. The length of the State of Emergency for the City of Southport is a testament to the vigilance the city has had towards this pandemic and demonstrated that there was no room for complacency when the lives of our citizens were involved.

There are still public health measures in place and I continue to urge everyone to obtain a vaccine as we try to continue to immunize our way out of this pandemic.

As your mayor, as a doctor, as a public health advocate, I will continue to monitor the pandemic, and I pray, as I know all of you do, that this pandemic will one day be over.

Our city, our fire, rescue, police, all our city employees and staff, our City Manager, our Board of Aldermen, our citizens, our hospital, all united together and it is your heroic efforts that Southport more than survived. It has been a humbling experience and a privilege to serve as your Mayor during this unfortunate, disastrous, and difficult time.

Stay Well, Stay Safe, and Always Stay Southport Strong.

Joseph P Hatem, MD, MPH

Mayor City of Southport