Shift into Phase 3 protocol welcome, but not without risk

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Hamilton County took a giant leap of faith into Phase 3 pandemic protocol Monday in what we can all hope and pray is a lasting step toward a new normal.
The range of thoughts and emotions on this issue cover a broad spectrum. Some believe to their core that this whole COVID battle is an epic example of governmental overreach, while others would rather be safe than sorry, perhaps even fearing for their lives or others who have pre-existing health challenges.
The one thing most now agree on is that Hamilton County should be under the same safety guidelines as the rest of the state, with the possible exception being Hall and Dakota counties. The number of positive COVID tests have remained in the mid 60s for weeks now in Hamilton County, clear evidence that we’ve finally “flattened the curve” in efforts to curb the coronavirus spread.
The question hovering like a dark cloud in the air is for how long?
Watching the national news these days should be a stark reminder that we as a nation have a long ways to go in this COVID battle. Nebraska is one of few states with encouraging numbers, and the last thing we want to see is another spike like we’re hearing about in New York, Texas, Arizona, Florida and California. Scenes of crowded streets, bars, pools and beaches have many political leaders there saying they wish now they would have not been so quick to remove strict safety measures people had grown weary of.
On that note, city leaders made a tough but no doubt popular decision last week to open the Streeter Park swimming pool this Saturday. Extra precautions will be made to keep kids and families safe, though some may choose to stay home despite the scorching heat that makes a pool seem so inviting.
The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong answer on these types of issues. To swim, or not to swim in a public pool, is a personal family decision, with the understanding that there may be some risk involved even with the extreme heat, chlorine and disinfecting efforts combining to kill the virus.
That awareness, like it or not, will be part of our “new normal” for the foreseeable future.
Kurt Johnson

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