The Lincoln County Health Department no longer includes the total number of cases recorded in the county in their news releases or information on the number of new cases reported daily, but the NC Dept. of Health & Human Services said Thursday that Lincoln County has had 2,246 cases so far including 40 new cases Thursday. The Health Dept. said Friday that the number of active cases is now 154, down slightly from the 175 reported Tuesday.
Catawba County had 67 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the second time this week more than 60 cases have been reported. Friday's 49 new cases means the county's active cases count has reached a new record. Another death Thursday brings that figure to 62. In Gaston County, the number of active cases is now 1,470. The county has recorded 109 virus-related deaths. 59 people in Gaston County and 33 in Catawba are hospitalized with the virus. Cleveland County had 196 active cases Friday, 24 people hospitalized, and 81 COVID-related deaths.
The North Carolina Dept. of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS) sent a letter to leaders in 36 counties this week asking them to better enforce some of the restrictions required by Governor Roy Cooper's executive orders. On Wednesday, Cooper announced that the current verion of Phase 3 of his reopening plan will remain in effect for three more weeks.
The NCDHHS recipients included Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba and Cleveland counties as well as 32 others who have recorded 300 or more new cases of the coronavirus in the last two weeks. Dr. Mandy Cohen, NCDHHS Secretary, said the counties and cities within them need to take a more active role in working to slow the spread of the virus. Currently, the penalty for defying the executive order is limited to criminal citations, which can lead to imprisonment. Ordinances can be more flexible, according to the letter. Examples of possible local actions include:
- Ordinances imposing civil penalties.
- Issuing a local Emergency Proclamation, which sets higher standards for the pandemic.
- Asking the local health director to issue and enforce an Imminent Hazard Abatement Order against those whose actions present an imminent hazard to the community.
Some have expressed concern that getting a test for the virus often involves Lincoln County residents having to go to other counties. The Health Dept. has partnered with OptumServe and NCDHHS to provide additional free testing for Lincoln County residents week after next. Beginning Tuesday November 3rd through Saturday November 7th, testing is planned for the old Health Dept. parking lot on Sigmon Road just off N. Generals Blvd. From 9 AM - 4 PM with a half-hour lunch break, residents can get tested for COVID-19 at that location. That week's testing will be followed by more Nov. 10th - 14th, 17th - 21st, and Thanksgiving week on the same 9 - 4 schedule. You need to schedule an appointment at t lhi.care/covidtesting; or call 877-562-4850 if you do not have internet or are registering for a minor.
QUALIFICATIONS: Anyone who meets the testing criteria can be tested at an OptumServe community testing site. OptumServe will generate a unique identification number for individuals who do not have a driver's license.
Statewide, the number of people hospitalized related to the virus is getting close to the record of 1,236 on July 28th. Friday, there were 1,205 people in the hospital with the disease. 2,400 new cases were reported on Friday. Since the pandemic began, North Carolina has recorded over a quarter million cases. The death toll in the state is now 4,082.
By now most have heard about the outbreak at a Charlotte church. 101 cases and three deaths have been linked to the United House of Prayer on Beatties Ford Road.
Nationally, 77,640 new cases of the virus were reported in the US Thursday.