Lincoln County Commission chairman Carrol Mitchem announced Sunday on Facebook that he would reopen his restaurant at the intersection of highways 27 & 274 in western Lincoln County Monday (May 18th). The reopening is a week ahead of Phase Two of Governor Roy Cooper's reopening plan and will be a violation of state law, which declares it a class II misdemeanor under emergency authorization approved by the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina Dept. of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) reports that the state has now had 659 deaths and 18,512 positive tests for COVID-19.
The Lincoln County Health Dept. will release its latest figures late Monday afternoon, but as of Friday (May 15th), the county had 12 active cases. There had been 46 positive tests for the virus, but 34 of those had recovered. Out of 959 tests, 909 have been negative. There are four people who were still awaiting the results of their tests. Lincoln County hasn't recorded a fatality linked to the disease.
Gaston County had 37 active cases and 171 recovered. Gaston had recorded six deaths related to the disease.
No update was available for Catawba & Cleveland counties, but as of Friday, Catawba County had 43 active cases; 95 positive tests; of whom 50 had recovered. The county has had two deaths. Cleveland County had 54 positive tests and two fatalities.
Much interest has been focused on neighboring states who are ahead of North Carolina in the reopening process.
Just over two weeks after Georgia ended its stay-at-home order, preliminary data from public health officials on the number of new coronavirus cases in the state has prompted some to claim victory over the outbreak, but health officials say it's still too early to draw that conclusion. COVID-19 has an incubation period that can run from three days to two weeks, but most who become ill don't become seriously ill until several days after they show symptoms.
The news, however is promising. Data published by the Georgia Department of Public Health showed a decline in both confirmed cases and deaths recorded since the state started reopening certain businesses on April 24th and ending its shelter-in-place order on April 30th.
Georgia’s confirmed-case count for COVID-19 rose to 37,642 Sunday including 43 new cases, while the state's death toll reached 1,606.
Phase One of Virginia's 'Forward Virginia' plan for reopening, allowing restaurants to open up outdoor seating at 50% capacity, personal grooming services to reopen with restrictions in place, houses of worship to operate at 50% capacity began last week. As of Sunday, Virginia had recorded 30,388 cases of COVID-19 according to the Virginia Department of Health. That was an increase of 705 cases since Saturday. The state had reported 1009 deaths related to the disease.
South Carolina, where beginning last week restaurants were allowed to reopen to indoor dining announced 163 new cases of the coronavirus and 5 additional deaths according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). That brings the total number of people confirmed to have COVID-19 in South Carolina to 8,816 and those who have died to 385. DHEC estimates that 84% of people who didn’t die from the virus have recovered.
Governor Roy Cooper, NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, and other state officials are scheduled to hold another briefing on COVID-19 in North Carolina this afternoon at 2 PM.