Durham, Wake counties announce new coronavirus cases, state total surpasses 100


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Three more Durham County residents have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total number of cases among Durham County residents to 35.

Harnett County received notice from the State Lab on Thursday that two additional individuals have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

This brings the total number of presumptive positive cases in Harnett County to six, and 111 in the state, according to CBS 17’s tally.

“This is not unexpected since these two additional cases are associated with a previous case, of a college student,” said Harnett County Health Director John Rouse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that people are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 when the affected person is showing flu-like symptoms. The affected individuals are currently in isolation. “It’s likely that more individuals will test presumptively positive for the virus,” Rouse added.

Wake County health officials announced three new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 25 in the county and 109 in the state, according to CBS 17’s tally.

One of the cases announced Thursday attended The Millenium Tour 2020 at PNC Arena on March 13. A news release said the person was symptomatic at the concert, so the Wake County Public Health Division set up a special informational phone line for people who attended the show or worked at the arena that evening and have developed symptoms.

Health officials are also using contact tracing to determine other locations that may be at risk, the release said.

“As we continue to learn about new positive cases in our community, it is imperative that social distancing recommendations be taken seriously,” said Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald. “The short-term actions we take now, while they may be inconvenient, will help us slow the virus’ spread and reduce the burden on our healthcare system.”

Earlier Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said North Carolina’s first case of community spread was identified in Wilson County.

Cooper said the expected community spread cases are why the state took early aggressive action to curb the spread of the virus.

“We will get through this,” the governor said.

Because there’s now confirmation of community spread, Cooper said this will likely impact the reopening of schools across the state.

“We are likely to be out of school for a longer period of time,” he said.

Cooper thanked the many hospitals across North Carolina who have canceled elective surgeries.

“We are exploring if we need to make this a mandatory directive,” Cooper said.

On Wednesday, Duke Health, UNC Health and WakeMed said they were prioritizing and rescheduling some non-critical surgeries and procedures.

The state has seen a dramatic spike in applications for unemployment insurance in North Carolina, according to Cooper. This can be attributed to restaurants being closed.

The Associated Press reported that applications for unemployment benefits rose by 70,000 last week across the country.

“We know it will get worse before it gets better,” Cooper said. “Know we are doing all we can to help all of us to deal with this crisis.”

The governor urged North Carolinians to continue practicing social distancing.

Late Wednesday, Wake County officials said 70 people are under investigation who were exposed to the virus and have shown symptoms.

Additionally, 221 others were identified through contact tracing who could be at risk for contracting the virus. Officials say those individuals are being monitored.

Moore County, after announcing its first case on Wednesday, said it had a second resident test positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Cumberland County announced its first two cases on Thursday, as well.

State health officials said 2,505 tests have been completed as of Thursday morning.

North Carolina health officials said the increase in cases can be partially attributed to testing being more widely available. The number of cases has varied daily as NCDHHS only reports updated numbers once a day. However, county health departments and other entities will report cases as the day progresses.

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