It's real; it's serious; and the worst is yet to come. The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed at least 46 lives in North Carolina; 354 people in our state remain hospitalized in 90 counties; two people have died in Gaston County, one in Catawba. The number of confirmed positive cases grows daily, and the stay at home order hasn't yet stopped the progress of the disease.
There is a bit of good news: while the number of new cases has continued to grow, it grew a bit less over last weekend than it had the week before; and there are some people who have survived the disease after being found to have it.
Statewide, 42% of the positive test results have been on people between 25-49 years old. 29% were 50-64 and 20% were 65 or older.
Of those who have died from the disease in North Carolina, 80% were over 65 and 93% were 50 or older.
Cleveland County added two new cases to its list Tuesday, bringing the total positive cases there to 22. Gaston County had 22 active cases on Tuesday, 33 cases of people who had recovered, and two deaths.
One new case of COVID-19 was identified in Catawba County Wednesday, bringing the county’s total number of residents who have tested positive to 28 as of Wednesday morning. Catawba County has had 446 negative test results.
Unlike all surrounding counties, Lincoln County's Health Dept. has switched to reporting statistics on the COVID-19 pandemic every other day (the others report daily). Lincoln County's report Monday afternoon showed that there had been nine positive cases in Lincoln County, five of whom had now recovered from the disease, leaving only four active cases--less than any of the surrounding counties. The NCDHHS reported Tuesday that Lincoln County's positive tests now number 11, so you can add two to the active cases. As of Monday, Lincoln County had 324 negative test results and six people still awaiting the results of their test.
It would be wrong to say we've reached the peak. For the state, it's expected that might happen sometime next week.
The decisions to limit travel from and to other countries, the closure of schools, the stay at home edict--all were major steps that were (and continue to be) problematical, but they seem to be working in helping to slow the spread of the disease. Unfortunately, based on what we've seen, a lot of people are out and about on a regular basis and appear not to be taking the virus seriously. We need to continue doing the things necessary to slow the spread of the virus and we need everyone's help.
STAY HOME AND CALL YOUR DOCTOR, IF NEEDED
Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms – such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. You can call your doctor to see if you need medical care. Don't go to the emergency room unless you have a major problem--an emergency.
Under the stay at home order, you can go out to get groceries, medicine, and other needed items from those stores that are open--but only do that if you really need it NOW. Stay at home as much as possible, and when you go out, keep a separation from other people of at least six feet.
MOST PEOPLE DO NOT NEED A TEST
When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or believe you might have it, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible.
You can stop isolating yourself and go back to your normal activities when you answer YES to ALL THREE of these questions:
Has it been at least 3 days (72 hours) since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications?
Has it been at least 3 days (72 hours) since you have had an improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath)?
Has it been at least 7 days since symptoms first appeared?
Practice good hygiene and take everyday preventive actions to reduce exposure:
Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you can't wash your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
Wear a mask (or kerchief) to cover your mouth and nose. That may help you to avoid the virus and it may also help you to keep from spreading it. Those who have the disease don't always show symptoms, especially not at first--but they can still spread it.
We will continue to provide daily updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope to be able to turn our attention (and yours) to other news more & more.
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