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114 COVID-19 cases reported in two days in Burke
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114 COVID-19 cases reported in two days in Burke

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COVID-19

Burke County added another 114 cases of COVID-19 over a two-day period, and the state reported its highest one-day number of cases at more than 8,000.

The Burke County Health Department reported 5,456 on Saturday and 5,386 cases of the virus on Friday, up from 5,342 cases on Thursday.

The Burke County COVID-19 dashboard, which lags behind the health department’s daily briefing, showed 1,159 active cases of the virus in the county on Friday. It also showed 23 Burke County residents currently hospitalized because of COVID-19. The county has previously reported 75 deaths due to the virus.

As of Saturday afternoon, the dashboard had not been updated from Friday.

Close contact remains the primary way the virus is being spread in the county, accounting for 60% of the cases, the dashboard shows.

The Burke County Health Department will not be doing any COVID-19 testing from Tuesday through Jan. 1 because of the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to the county’s briefing. Testing at the department will resume Jan. 4.

County offices will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and 28 and Jan. 1 in observance of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Just because it won’t be testing during that time doesn’t mean health department staff won’t be working.

The health department said staff will continue receiving reports from other labs, providing media briefings and completing contact tracing during the holiday period.

However, since the governmental offices, state lab and the reference lab used are all closed for some time during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the health department will not be doing COVID testing to make sure the samples are able to be received and samples stay viable due to the closures.

“The health department was never meant to be the only source of COVID testing within the county,” the department’s daily briefing says.

It says there are more than 20 sites within Burke County where residents can be tested, as well as out of county testing sites that are also being utilized by our residents.

A list of testing sites can be found on the Health Department’s Facebook page or COVID-19 webpage.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its list of outbreaks at schools and congregate living facilities on Friday.

The following outbreaks in Burke County were included in the update of the list:

  • Icard Elementary School in Icard has five staff members infected with the virus.
  • Hildebran Elementary School in Hildebran has five staff members infected with the virus.
  • Christ Classical Academy in Rutherford College still has a total of eight cases, with seven children and one staff member infected.
  • Jonas Ridge Adult Care has two staff members infected with the virus.
  • Grace Heights Health and Rehabilitation has five total cases, with one resident and four staff members infected. The facility was previously on the list but had been removed after the state determined its outbreak was over.
  • College Pines Health and Rehabilitation in Rutherford College saw no change in its numbers, with the state reporting a total of 123 cases, with 76 residents and 47 staff members infected. The facility has had 15 residents die from the virus.
  • Carolina Rehab of Burke in Icard showed on its facility’s website on Friday that its current cases of the virus are 25 residents and 11 staff members currently infected. It lists a total of 95 resident cases, up from a total of 86 cases in residents on Tuesday, and a total of 48 staff cases since May 1. However, the facility was put on the state’s list of outbreaks that are considered over with a total of 68 cases, with 46 residents and 22 staff members infected with 12 resident deaths from the virus.
  • Grace Ridge Retirement Community in Morganton still has a total of three cases, with one resident and two staff members infected.
  • Magnolia Lane Nursing and Rehab Center in Morganton has a total of 48 cases, up from 42 cases on Tuesday, with 29 residents and 19 staff members infected.
  • The Berkeley - Assisted Living & Memory Care has seven total cases, with two residents and five staff members infected. It has had one resident die from the virus.
  • Cambridge House in Hildebran still has a total of 14, up from 11 cases on Tuesday, with 10 residents and four staff members infected. The facility has had another death since Tuesday, bringing its total death to two from the virus.
  • J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center still has a total of 66 cases, with 13 residents and 53 staff members infected.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety now has a COVID-19 dashboard that shows 10 inmates throughout the state prison system are currently hospitalized, with a total of 620 active cases of the virus. And the state prison system has had 29 inmates die related with COVID-19.

The department shows Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton currently has 17 active cases of the virus.

NCDHHS reported 8,444 news cases of COVID-19 on Friday, with a daily percent positive rate of 10.5%, for a total of 466,104 cases. NCDHHS reported this week that of the total cases in the state, 365,273 are presumed recovered.

The department also reported 2,824 people hospitalized because of the virus on Friday.

The 8,444 cases was the state’s highest one-day number of COVID-19 cases so far. The new cases doubled a record day reported a month ago on Nov. 19, when the state reported 4,296 new cases.

"I am very worried for our state. Everyone must act right now to protect each other," NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a release. "Do not wait until it’s you or your loved (one) sick with COVID-19 to wear a mask, wait apart from others and wash your hands often. Do not wait until it’s you or your loved one alone in a hospital bed. Do not wait until you’ve lost a loved one to this pandemic. Take personal responsibility for you, your loved ones and your community now.”

On Saturday, the state reported 6,164 new cases for a total of 472,268 and a daily percent positive rate of 11.3%, according to NCDHHS. It showed that 2,846 people were hospitalized on Saturday due to COVID-19 and a total of 6,184 people have died throughout the state due to the virus.

NCDHHS said COVID-19 is highly contagious, and more than half of North Carolinians are at high risk for serious illness. Studies also are finding some people, including those who had mild illness, experience symptoms for weeks or months following infection.

State health officials are advising people to avoid travel over the holiday season and only gather with people in your household. If you absolutely must travel or be with people you do not live with, get tested in advance, keep it small and outdoors, and always wear a mask, NCDHHS said. NCDHHS has issued guidance outlining steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including getting tested three to four days ahead of time. A test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not yet have symptoms. However, a test can miss some infections. A negative test only gives a person information for that point in time. Community testing events and other testing sites are listed online at https://bit.ly/38j4Stm.

NCDHHS said people who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around a person with the virus, should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings until they complete their isolation or quarantine period.

For a full list of guidance about traveling and gathering during the holidays, along with a chart outlining low, medium and high-risk activities, visit https://bit.ly/34qg1ap.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s modified stay-at-home order requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Businesses, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and most retail stores, are required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales have to end by 9 p.m.

For questions about COVID-19 or testing, call the county’s public information line at 828-764-9150.

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