Albemarle Regional Health Department reported the first COVID-19-related death in Camden County on Tuesday as the region’s number of coronavirus cases neared 700.
ARHS said the person was over the age of 65 and died of complications from the respiratory disease.
Battle Betts, ARHS director, said the person’s death — the 36th in the eight-county region and one of more than 1,400 statewide — “unfortunately ... reminds us that the end (of the COVID-19 pandemic) is far from over.”
The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region rose to 698 on Tuesday, as Pasquotank, Camden, Chowan, Hertford counties reported new cases. Pasquotank was reporting 225 cases on Tuesday, 29 of which are active, according to ARHS.
Camden was reporting 33 cases, 12 of which are active; Chowan was reporting 30 cases, 11 of which are active; and Hertford was reporting 174 cases, only 11 of which are active.
No other area county was reporting more than six active cases, and regionwide only 75 cases were still active Tuesday, an 11 percent rate.
Statewide, the number of virus cases rose to 75,875, an increase of 1,346, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS also reported that 989 persons were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, an increase of six from Monday.
Betts said it was important for area residents to continue practicing measures to keep them and others safe from contracting the highly contagious coronavirus.
“It is important we stay the course and do all we can to minimize the impact on our communities and most vulnerable by wearing a cloth face covering, maintaining physical distance of at least six feet, and practicing good handwashing. We cannot let our guard down,” he said.
ARHS also responded Tuesday to a new order by Dr. Mandy Cohen, DHHS director, no longer requiring a doctor’s notice to receive a COVID-19 test. According to The Associated Press, state officials said the order, which will continue to be in effect until Gov. Roy Cooper’s state of emergency is lifted, is designed to encourage more Black, Hispanic and Native Americans to get tested for the coronavirus.
ARHS, which is offering COVID-19 testing at each of its eight member health departments, “supports any strategies that will reduce barriers for those that need care,” an agency spokeswoman said in response to Cohen’s order.
“As a public health agency, our goal is always to reduce barriers and provide equitable access to health care services,” the spokeswoman said. “This order will allow for expanded testing in our historically marginalized populations across the region. This is just one more method we can use to mitigate the spread and impact of the virus in our communities.”
DHHS, meanwhile, reported that 1,071,290 COVID-19 tests have been completed in the state, an increase of nearly 13,000 from Monday.