While Lincoln County continues to dodge the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, neighboring counties like most of the rest of North Carolina are reporting sharp increases in cases.
Catawba County reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 Monday bringing the county's active case count to 273. 15 of those were hospitalized. 173 people are said to have recovered, and Catawba County has had 13 deaths from the disease.
Gaston County's active case count grew to 212. 331 people are said to have recovered there and the county has had nine deaths.
Lincoln County's active case count was 45 Monday with nine people still awaiting test results and 92 recovered cases.
As of Friday (June 12th) Cleveland County had reported 159 positive tests and two deaths.
In Mecklenburg County, 7,079 cases had been diagnosed with 131 related deaths.
There were 983 new cases reported Monday by the NCDHHS, bringing the total of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina to 45,102. DHHS reported 1,118 people have died from the virus in our state.
Most alarming is the fact that hospitalizations from the disease are continuing to hover around 800. When Governor Roy Cooper announced Phase Two of his reopening plan, the number was about 500. The state reported 797 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19 Monday, one fewer than on Sunday. The increase in cases is also a major concern because with hospitals returning to other procedures, the number of available beds is shrinking. DHHS said there were 22 percent of ICU beds and 27% of all hospital beds available on Monday based on reports from 73% of the state's hospitals.
Still, there are those who are claiming that COVID-19 in just a political hoax and who are refusing--often for political reasons--to wear any facial covering.
Medical experts almost universally agree with wearing masks covering the nose and mouth, observing social distancing, and following other precautions including washing one's hands often is the best way to prevent spread of the disease. Governor Cooper said in a briefing Monday (June 15th) that cooperation from the public in following the "3-W's" is the only way the state can flatten the curve and move forward to Phase Three of the reopening.
Cooper answered a reporter's question saying that the state may consider making wearing facial coverings mandatory.
Durham and Orange counties have already begun requiring face coverings in public and now Wake County leaders are discussing whether to do the same. Wake County has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state behind Mecklenburg. Raleigh’s mayor says she’s worried about what she’s seen lately in the city. The number of people wearing masks is now a minority--and few are observing social distancing guidelines.
All local health departments in the state, the NCDHHS, and other medical experts continue to urge voluntary cooperation. Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, issued a letter last week in which she stated: " Physicians, scientists and public health experts are learning more every day about COVID-19, but we already know what stops the spread of the virus – wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds. Adhering to these simple steps is the most effective way to prevent deaths and safely allow re-opening to continue."
Nationally, the number of COVID-19 related deaths is now pegged at 118,283.