Local residents will soon be able to track the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the region with a phone call.
Albemarle Regional Health Services Director Battle Betts said the number, which will be available on the agency’s website, should be up and working later this week.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also updates its website each day at 11 a.m. with a county-by-county breakdown of confirmed cases in the state.
As of 11 a.m. Monday, Bertie County had five confirmed COVID-19 cases, Pasquotank and Hertford counties had two confirmed cases while Currituck and Perquimans counties had one confirmed case each.
Camden, Chowan and Gates counties had no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“We are establishing a phone line that people can call and get northeastern North Carolina totals that are updated daily,” Betts said. “The most current information will be on that line. We want people to see the numbers. We want people to see this as a serious threat. We started working on that last week and we just want to get the logistics straight so we can put out the right product.”
Countering false information circulating on social media was one driving factor in establishing the informational phone number.
“We want people to be informed with the actual facts, and that is an important piece,” Betts said. “What we are finding is there is misinformation because people are getting bits and pieces of information and it causes hysteria.’’
Betts said ARHS, like many health departments in the state is not issuing an official press release once a county exceeds two confirmed cases. ARHS is continuing to alert the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services each time it confirms a case of the virus.
“What you will find is other counties are not issuing press releases for case number 22, case number 23, case number 24,” Betts said. “We are not going to do that for eight counties. We are in constant contact with the state. I was on the phone with them all morning.”