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Illnesses prompt hospital restrictions
  • Updated

TRIAD — Hospitals across the Piedmont Triad are restricting visits by children because of the recent surge of respiratory infections from RSV, the flu and COVID-19.

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Cone Health, Novant Health and Randolph Health announced that starting at 7 a.m. today they don’t want children 12 and under to visit patients.

Anyone 13 years and older experiencing symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, fever or cough shouldn’t visit patients either, the health systems advise.

Children may be permitted to visit hospitalized patients under special circumstances, such as visiting a dying family member. Parents should work with their care team to make arrangements, the health systems announced.

The goal is to limit the spread of respiratory viruses.

The restrictions apply only to those visiting patients, not to children or adults brought to the hospitals for treatment.

Similar hospital visitation restrictions have been common in the past during periods of high flu transmission.

At hospitals, masks remain required for all visitors under protocols established during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Health care professionals say that people should get vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19, as well as getting new COVID-19 booster shots that are tailored to omicron, to limit the spread of respiratory illnesses.

There’s no vaccine for RSV, which primarily affects infants and younger children as well as older adults.

Local school violence numbers jump
  • Updated

GUILFORD COUNTY — Violence at schools and school events has jumped sharply compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, and Guilford County Schools officials discussed Tuesday night steps they are taking to try to deal with it.

The number of students who received out-of-school suspensions for such things as fighting, aggressive behavior and assaulting faculty or other students went from 358 in August and September of the 2019-20 school year to 567 in the same period of the current school year, an increase of 58.4%, GCS Chief Performance Officer Sonya Stephens told the Guilford County Board of Education.

The increase echoes local, state and national trends of higher rates of homicide and assaults since the pandemic began, said Mike Richey, who was promoted Tuesday night to GCS’s assistant superintendent for school safety.

“The numbers on mental health are disturbing,” he said.

Superintendent Whitney Oakley said that schools reflect the problems present in the community.

“To solve this crisis, the school system can’t do it by ourselves,” she said.

One thing GCS is doing is expanding its School Safety Office, hiring four additional people to work on safety planning for each school, she said.

“For too long we’ve operated here with limited resources, and our schools are feeling it — and they’re telling us,” she said.

GCS also will start offering incentives for more staff to attend athletic events to help supervise in hopes of heading off fights, and there will be new anti-bullying training for school staff, Oakley said.

Richey said principals already have begun having detailed safety plan discussions with athletic directors before athletic events, and that has helped.

“Our issues with games have continued to decrease as the season has gone on,” he said.

Oakley is scheduled to have a press conference today at Fairview Elementary School in High Point about school safety trends and what the school system is doing about them.

These new measures are in addition to safety initiatives that the school board previously had been updated on, including the addition of high-speed body scanners at the county’s high schools, the installation of cameras on all school buses, work to make school entry points more secure and efforts to provide more mental health support services for students. Work also should begin soon on updating video cameras in the schools, Richey said.

In other business, the board voted in favor of increasing the potential budgets for six projects that had been approved in March 2021 as part of the funding provided by the $300 million school bonds package voters approved in 2020. Architectural and engineering firms are working to complete the final cost estimates, which will be submitted in the coming months, but because of higher than expected construction and supply costs and some design changes, the current cost estimates “exceed the original budgets by significant amounts,” according to a memo to the school board.

The board voted to increase the combined budgets for the six projects — all for schools in Greensboro — by a total of more than 75%, from $215.1 million to $379.5 million.

Amada campus marks growth

HIGH POINT — Growth is ticking back up at the Amada America campus in north High Point, which makes high-precision press brake machines for the auto and appliance markets.

A subsidiary of Amada Global in Japan called Amada Weld Tech Inc. recently opened a lab within the 62,000-square-foot technical center portion of the campus off Penny Road.

The new facility serves as the East Coast technical center for Amada Weld Tech, which is based in Monrovia, California, said Patrick Medlin, chief manufacturing officer for Amada America.

“They make some very small laser machines that are predominantly used for laser etching. They also have some that can do specialized welding for (electric vehicle) batteries,” he said. “So they have now set up a section within the tech center in High Point where they have a lab where they do demonstrations for customers, and they have service and support out of that building.”

The 37.6-acre campus now spans 256,000 square feet and has a total of about 100 employees, Medlin said.

The first building — a 197,000-square-foot manufacturing center — opened in early 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Since then, the plant has been adding capacity but has struggled to find workers at times. Before the pandemic, the company was planning an expansion of the facility, but that’s on hold for now.

“Are there still plans to do that? Yes. In terms of a date, I can’t really speak to that yet,” Medlin said.

The technical center opened as the second building on the campus in October 2020 and includes a 24,000-square-foot showroom, parts and service personnel and the “Amada school,” where customers learn how to operate press brake machines, Medlin said.


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