There have now been confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln, Gaston and Catawba counties. It has been determined that the confirmed case of COVID-19 reported in Cleveland County Friday (March 20th) is actually a resident of another county. The individual provided a Cleveland County address when the individual’s COVID-19 sample was collected for testing at the patient’s healthcare provider’s office. Therefore, the positive result was reported to the Cleveland County Health Department and a Cleveland County address was documented. After further investigation and follow-up conversations with the patient, it has been determined that the individual does not live at the original address provided and is a resident of another county. Therefore, Cleveland County does not (as of 5 PM Friday) have a confirmed case of COVID-19; but the disease is spreading rapidly and it's likely only a matter of time until one is confirmed there.
A person living in Catawba County did test positive for COVID-19. That patient is hospitalized and is doing well in isolation. How the person acquired the infection is being investigated.
“We are conducting a thorough contact investigation to mitigate potential community spread,” said Catawba County Public Health Director Jennifer McCracken. “We are working to identify close contacts who may be affected. We will give prompt notification to those contacts as they are identified and advise them on appropriate monitoring and testing.”
The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, Public Health is assessing the risk of exposure to others and will determine which, if any, additional protective measures are needed for those individuals. Protective measures may include temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.
Catawba County Public Health is working closely with the assisted living facility where this individual resides to ensure that any contacts there are identified and notified of any measures they need to take.
The most recent county-by-county case count is available at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc. Mecklenburg has (as of Friday) 28 confirmed cases; Durham County has 33; and Wake County has 23. There have been 137 confirmed cases statewide; 3,233 people have been tested for the virus.
Catawba County Public Health has been working hand-in-hand with Catawba County Emergency Management, Catawba Valley Health System, Frye Regional Medical Center and other community partners for more than a month to plan for the potential local impact of COVID-19.
“We are committed to helping protect the health of our county’s residents, including this individual,” said McCracken. “We are asking all Catawba County residents to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing by staying home whenever possible.”
Gaston County reported its first confirmed case on Thursday. In Lincoln County, Health Director David Madden reported Friday that 61 people have been tested for COVID-19; of those there is one positive case; 27 people have tested negative and 33 others have been tested and are considered persons under investigation (PUI). A PUI is a person who was tested based on COVID-19 testing criteria and is self-isolating until test results are received.
The Lincoln County Board of Education held another special meeting Friday morning (March 20th). They approved a plan that will let some school employees work from home during the school closure. They also discussed the possible additional use of at-home learning for students and the steps that might be taken to make such remote programs work.
School Board chair Cathy Davis praised school personnel for their work in meeting the needs of students during this never-before-seen situation. The schools' drive-thru feeding program at seven schools and the Central Office fed over 1400 students on its first day in operation and that number has grown since. 80% of the at-home learning packets that were prepared for elementary students have now been picked up. While it hasn't happened yet, most expect that Governor Cooper might extend the mandatory school closure making innovative programs necessary.
The Lincoln Herald has posted a list of cancellations and postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be updated throughout the weekend. Any organization, church, business, industry, club, etc. that would like for us to publicize an amended schedule or postponement should send us the information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 704-276-6587.