Birdie, by FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, for trying to ascertain how exposed the community might be to the novel coronavirus.

The hospital recently undertook a study hoping to detail just how “vulnerable” the county is to COVID-19. Although cumulative positive cases are still quite low compared to the overall county, there are still folks who contracted COVID who stayed home and recovered. And there are folks who were positive but had no symptoms. So the thought was that far more people have been exposed to the coronavirus than the numbers say.

Unfortunately, Moore Regional’s results didn’t yield the kind of conclusions everyone would have preferred. Only 13 of the 764 people who participated in the study — about 1.7 percent — tested positive for antibodies that may protect them from reinfection. Nearly 8 percent of participants in the Montgomery County study tested positive, while 6.5 percent of participants tested positive in Richmond County. However, both studies had smaller turnouts.

The endeavor was an important one, though, because antibody studies can help determine the prevalence of the coronavirus in different communities

“Anecdotally, we were hoping to get a more varied population than we did in terms of age, race and ethnicity,” said Dr. Gretchen Arnoczy, an infectious diseases physician with FirstHealth. FirstHealth hopes to conduct another testing event to “better target underrepresented populations,” Arnoczy said.

This study demonstrates that our health system is continuing to do significant work to help us understand important medical issues.

Birdie, to Tony Price and his staff at the Moore Free and Charitable Care Clinic, who recently completed a major expansion of their Southern Pines operation. The clinic doubled the size of its previous space with the addition of two exam rooms, a larger pharmacy space, two treatment rooms, and several new office spaces for clinic staff and volunteers.

Price, a retired Verizon executive who was named the clinic’s chief executive officer in 2011, led the effort to raise private donations for the project, while managing the clinic through the COVID-19 crisis with no interruption of services to clients.

Price was recently honored by the Board of Commissioners for all that work.

“The clinic is such a great asset to Moore County,” said Commissioner Catherine Graham.

An Eagle, by little Ivy Williamson, who recently used her wish to help others in the town of Vass.

Williamson, 4, and her family recently joined Vass officials and others in cutting the ribbon on two new pieces of playground equipment that will allow children in wheelchairs to join in the playing.

Ivy, offered a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina, wanted the equipment at Sandy Ramey Keith Park in Vass. Everyone cut the ribbon on the new handicap-accessible swing and merry-go-round last week. Confined to a wheelchair, Ivy has not been able to play at the park with other children the same way.

“This is something worthy of a grand turnout,” Mayor Eddie Callahan said. “For the little 4-year-old girl it is amazing to see this come about and everyone is really excited about it. The family, they are wonderful people.”

Birdie, by David Lambert at the Moore County Solid Waste division, for a potential solution to help improve residential trash disposal and traffic at the county landfill in Aberdeen.

County commissioners recently approved a plan offered by Lambert that would set up a new collection area off N.C. 5 for homeowners who come to the site to dump their trash and household junk. Right now, they have to sit in a long line with commercial trucks waiting to cross the scales. The line often backs up and creates traffic bottlenecks.

The new plan would create a new, separate access point for residential waste collection. It still needs approval from Pinehurst, since the property would be in the village’s zoning boundary.

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