A second Pasquotank County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, local health officials announced over the weekend.
Meanwhile, a resident in Currituck County represents that county’s first case of the disease.
Albemarle Regional Health Services Director R. Battle Betts Jr. was notified of the second lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pasquotank, ARHS said in a press release. The health agency reported the second Pasquotank case Saturday night.
The health agency announced around noon Sunday that a resident in Currituck County has tested positive for the disease.
ARHS didn’t say when Betts was informed of the positive tests; however, the agency has been reporting cases in the region the same day they receive the lab confirmation.
ARHS released no details about the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, only that they are in isolation.
The agency said it is following state health guidelines for determining others with whom the person has had close contact. ARHS defined “close contacts” as those with whom the person testing positive for COVID-19 has had direct contact, or been within 6 feet of, for at least 10 minutes while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
Caregivers and household members of persons who test positive for the virus are considered close contacts, ARHS said.
The health agency said while it will continue to closely monitor additional cases of COVID-19 in Pasquotank, it will no longer publish press releases announcing additional cases in counties where the case numbers have reached or exceeded two. ARHS cited the fact there is now “community transmission of COVID-19 throughout the county” as the reason for its decision.
The agency made the same statement following the announcement of second cases in both Bertie and Hertford counties.
Bertie currently has three cases of COVID-19 and Hertford has two, according to ARHS press releases. ARHS also announced a case in Perquimans County on Friday. Dare County, which has its own health department, announced one case in that county last week.
Other health departments, however, are reporting more cases. Among eastern North Carolina counties, for example, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ website shows New Hanover had reported 18 cases as of Sunday morning; Pitt had reported 13 cases; Brunswick, 12 cases; Wilson, 9; Carteret, 5; Northampton, 4; Craven, 4; Onslow, 4; and Beaufort, 3.
Mecklenburg and Wake counties continued to report the most cases with 298 and 134, respectively. Durham is the only other North Carolina county with a triple-digit number of cases: 101.
Statewide, there were 1,040 cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday morning, although DHHS noted the number reflected only positive cases tested at either the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health, hospitals or private labs. It also noted that not all cases of COVID-19 are tested; therefore, 1,040 isn’t the total number of people in the state who have, or have had, the disease.
So far, four deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the state, one each in Cabarrus, Harnett, Rowan, Johnston counties. DDHS noted, however, that the number only reflects deaths of persons with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 reported to the agency.
According to DHHS, nearly half of those testing positive for COVID-19 so far — 47 percent — were between the ages of 25 and 49. Another 24 percent were between the ages of 50 and 64. Fifteen percent were 65 and older, while 13 percent were ages 18-24. Only 1 percent were 17 and younger.
Of those who have died from COVID-19, however, three were 65 and older. One was in the 25-49 age group.
About the same number of men and women have tested positive for the disease: 50 percent were women, 49 percent were men. Three of the four deaths, however, have been men.
DDHS said a total of 17,527 tests for COVID-19 have been completed in the state. However, it also noted the number only reflects tests that have been completed by the state lab and those hospitals and commercial labs that have reported testing numbers to the agency.
ARHS used its announcement Saturday to continue to urge members of the public to practice preventive measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. Those precautions include:
• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
• Staying home when you are sick;
• Covering your cough or sneezing with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash;
• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe;
• Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating, as well as after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol-based.
• Practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding unnecessary travel, and avoiding handshakes, hugs and other close contact.