A 12th Hertford County resident has died from COVID-19, raising the number of deaths from the highly contagious respiratory disease in Albemarle Regional Health Services’ eight-county region to 41.
ARHS said the person, who died Friday, was over 65 and succumbed to complications from the disease.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections in the region surged past 1,000 on Saturday with the reporting of 45 new cases. By Monday, the case count in the region had grown by another 49 to 1,072.
All eight counties reported new cases, with four — Chowan, Bertie, Pasquotank and Hertford — reporting double-digit increases since Friday, and two — Chowan and Bertie — reporting more than 20 each over the three days.
The number of active cases also rose by 53 from Friday and now stands at 232. Every county in the region also saw an increase in active cases, with every one except Gates and Perquimans reporting at least 21 as of Monday.
Chowan’s case count grew the most — from 76 on Friday to 104 on Monday, while its active cases grew from 31 to 43. Bertie, which became the third county in ARHS’ region to surpass 200 cases, saw its cases grow from 194 to 215. Its active cases only grew by three, however, to 29.
Pasquotank became the first county in the region to report more than 300 cases. On Monday, its case count grew to 305, an increase of 17 from Friday. Its active case count — 29 — was only seven more, however, than on Friday.
Hertford’s case count grew by 14 cases from Friday. On Monday, it was reporting 237 cases, 57 of which were active.
The surge in new cases in the region is not being driven by new infections at nursing homes, assisted living centers or prison facilities.
ARHS reported Friday that the outbreak of five cases at Ahoskie Assisted Living in Hertford County has been resolved. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services considers an outbreak of COVID-19 — at least two cases — to be over when there is no evidence of continued transmission of the disease at a facility. Typically that’s 28 days after the latest onset of the disease in a symptomatic person or the last specimen collection in an asymptomatic person.
ARHS previously reported that the outbreak of 71 cases and 14 deaths at Elizabeth City Health & Rehabilitation Center. And the NCDHHS has reported the outbreak of 72 cases and eight deaths at Ahoskie House in Hertford County has been resolved.
The only current outbreak at a nursing home or assisted living center is one involving two cases at Chowan River Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
ARHS also reported Friday that a second outbreak of four staff cases of COVID-19 at Bertie Correctional Institution “remains stable.” The health agency previously reported outbreaks at Pasquotank Correctional Institution and the privately-operated Rivers Correctional Center in Winton to be resolved.
ARHS Director Battle Betts Jr. said Friday that while the agency is “happy to report” that COVID-19 cases have stabilized, ARHS is “concerned about the steady increase in COVID-19 case activity across the region.”
“Over the past week we have seen a rise in new cases and, therefore, active cases in each of our eight counties,” he said. “Last week at this time, we were at 87 active cases total and this week we are at 179 active cases.”
While the recent increase in testing is “a contributing factor” to the rise in cases, Betts said, the increase is also “in line” with COVID-19 trends in neighboring health districts in both North Carolina and Virginia.
“This trend, while not unexpected, is very concerning and is a stark reminder of the need to protect yourself and your loved ones, and why we are still in the Safer At Home Phase 2 Executive Order,” Betts said, referring to Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent decision to keep the state in Phase 2 of his reopening plan following a rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Betts said ARHS continues to urge people to limit their exposure to the virus by “staying home as much as possible” and to exercise social distancing and wear a face covering if they have to go out.
“This virus impacts people in many different ways and we want everyone to stay safe and healthy,” he said.
DHHS reported Monday that more than 114,000 people have contracted COVID-19 in the state and that 1,790 people have died from the disease.
The agency also said Monday that 92,302 people are presumed to have recovered from COVID-19. That means a little more than 80 percent of people who’ve contracted the disease have recovered from it.
According to ARHS, 801 people who’ve contracted COVID-19 in the region have recovered from it. That’s a little more than 75 percent of all cases.