Mecklenburg County coronavirus cases climb to 97, at least 300 in NC

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Mecklenburg County has 17 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 97, the county announced Monday.

In North Carolina, 297 people have tested positive for COVID-19. The latest numbers came in Monday morning. With these numbers, there are at least 300 positive cases in the state.

The new cases come just a day after county officials confirmed community spread.

A community spread case means that a person tested positive, but health officials are unable to track how they may have been infected. The person would not have had contact with a known case or have traveled recently.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper confirmed community spread in Wilson County as the first case of community spread in the state. Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris says she knows of at least two positive COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County that were community spread. Harris says she was not sure why there was a disconnect between local numbers and the state.

“I’m not sure,” Harris said. “We have community spread in our community,” Harris said.

Last week, on Wednesday, Mecklenburg County reported only 14 cases of coronavirus. Harris says they expected the number to rise, in part because they are testing more people.

Harris also said that a “shelter-in-place” order was not in effect in Mecklenburg County. County Manager Dena Diorio says the Governor or the Office of Emergency in Mecklenburg County could make the call for a shelter-in-place order. Diorio says they would coordinate with the state and local hospital officials before making any decisions on shelter-in-place or any similar order.

Seven daycare sites have also been opened for the children of first responders. Details about this will be posted to the county’s COVID-19 web page here.

Ninety-seven people have now tested positive for the coronavirus in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. It’s not clear whether North Carolina’s positive case count includes Mecklenburg County’s latest increase.

During Thursday afternoon’s press conference, Mecklenburg County officials said the state is well above the 100 positive case mark.

Mecklenburg County declared a state of emergency Sunday after additional residents tested positive for COVID-19.

“Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) considers novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to be a very serious public health threat and has declared a State of Emergency,” the county posted online. “The declaration allows the County access to state and federal funds to offset the costs of fighting the pandemic.”

Harris said 259 people were tested after attending a big conference and that health officials were awaiting the results for those people.

“We are not testing just anyone,” Harris said Monday. “We have just gotten the information and are starting our investigations to understand where their potential exposure came from, where they are and how we’re moving forward with those.”

Over the weekend, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ordered public K-12 schools in the state to close for at least two weeks.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools began“grab and go” breakfast and lunch meals for students on Tuesday. Students will need to be present and cannot consume the meals on school grounds, Winston says. A list of pickup locations will be provided.

CMS joins other districts offering free food to students who are impacted by the mandated school closures.

Winston says the district is working with community partners to get technology access to students for remote learning opportunities.

“All school district employees can expect to be compensated over the next two weeks – or the duration of the executive order,” Winston said of school employees.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg deputy chief says the banning of mass gatherings will be enforced on a educational platform by officers with voluntary compliance.

“If you can limit the number of people you’re bringing together – and think about who you’re inviting,” Harris said. “Limit your exposure as much as you can.”

The patients are being quarantined at home or self-isolating, and their family members are being isolated as well, according to Harris.

To help coordinate the community’s response, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management has activated the Emergency Operations Center. It will remain open until the threat from the pandemic subsides. Those who may have COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough and shortness of breath – are reminded to call first before seeking treatment from a healthcare provider, urgent care or emergency room.

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