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home : news : news August 13, 2020

6/11/2020 5:13:00 PM
COVID-19 Cases Increase

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer


COVID-19 is NOT a hoax; it's a deadly virus that has now killed nearly a half million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization.  On Thursday, the US passed a grim milestone: we've now had over two million confirmed cases, and 116 thousand people have died from complications related to the disease. Brazil has now surpassed the United Kingdom to take an undesired second place with over 41 thousand deaths.

Health officials are seeing alarming trends in nearly half the country. While cases are on the rise in more than 20 states, some officials say it’s because of increased testing or due to small, local outbreaks--but other surges are more alarming. In Arizona, hospitals were notified over last weekend to prepare for the worst amid surges across the state.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says recent jumps have caused him to rethink plans to reopen schools or businesses. Texas and Utah are among the states that have also been identified as worrisome hot spots. 

Lincoln County has still been blessed not to have any deaths from COVID-19 and while our total number of confirmed cases has now surpassed 100, 79 of those have recovered.  We currently (as of Wednesday) have 34 active cases and three people were awaiting their test results.

The situation is much worse in neighboring Catawba County where there are now 211 active cases, 13 have died, and 13 are hospitalized.

Gaston County reported Wednesday that it had 117 active cases, 302 recovered and 8 deaths.

For the fourth day in a row, North Carolina set a record high Thursday for the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19. 812 people were hospitalized, an increase of 32 since Wednesday.

The increase in cases is in part due to more testing, but the number of people hospitalized is not.  The percentage of tests that are positive has held at about 9% for the last two weeks. At this point, there's no danger of hospitals being overwhelmed.  With 86 percent of hospitals reporting, 20 percent of inpatient hospital beds and 13 percent of ICU beds are currently available.

34 new deaths reported Thursday brings the state's total to 1,064.


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With the increase in confirmed cases, the Catawba County Public Health Dept. put out a news release Thursday:

With more community spread happening in Catawba County and across the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is now recommending that more people get tested for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the county marked its highest single-day increase in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19. On Wednesday, the number of local residents hospitalized  reached the highest to date at 12. On Thursday, we had 41 new cases and the number of people hospitalized increased to 13.

Through contact tracing, more than three-fourths of cases in Catawba County can be attributed to community spread or close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is actively spreading in the county, and we encourage all residents to continue to take prevention guidelines seriously, not only to protect themselves, but to also protect their families, friends and neighbors,” said Catawba County Health Director Jennifer McCracken. “Because a single infected person can potentially spread the disease to many other people, it is important to follow the three Ws (Wait, Wear, Wash) when you leave home, especially as restrictions are eased.”

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.
  • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Increased testing, including for those without noticeable symptoms, and adherence to control measures like self-isolation and quarantine are important to stopping the spread of COVID-19 across Catawba County.  

Diagnostic testing is now recommended for:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms.
  • Populations with higher risk of exposure or a higher risk of severe disease if they become infected, if they believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms. 
  • People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others. Testing should be considered for people who attended such events, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing.

Diagnostic testing is now widely available in Catawba County through primary care providers, urgent cares and is beginning to be offered statewide in some pharmacies. Catawba County Public Health is also offering testing primarily for individuals who are uninsured or who do not have ready access to healthcare elsewhere.

An online tool to help individuals make the decision on whether to get tested is available at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/symptoms. The tool helps link individuals with locations that are providing COVID-19 testing.

While some are blatantly refusing to wear any facial covering and totally rejecting the idea that social distancing is necessary, ALL of the public health departments in North Carolina are continuing to urge caution related to this disease.  The public has been urged to follow the 'three W's' to help slow the spread of the disease.  

If you need to be tested for COVID-19, CLICK HERE.  Enter your zip code and you'll see a list of places you can be tested in our area.  

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