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Burke adds 11 COVID-19 cases
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Burke adds 11 COVID-19 cases

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Burke County saw another increase in positive COVID-19 cases Thursday, this time adding 11 cases of the virus.

Those new cases bring the county’s number of cases to 853, according to a media briefing from the Burke County Health Department.

According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard at press time Thursday, there were 844 cases of COVID-19, with 408 active cases, 417 recoveries and four people in the hospital in the county due to the virus.

Numbers across the state continued their upward trend Thursday as the state added 1,333 cases, bringing the statewide total number to 48,188, said Gov. Roy Cooper in a news conference Thursday. There have been 1,175 deaths reported, with 857 people hospitalized for the virus.

“These numbers continue to concern us, and our prayers are with everyone fighting this virus and those who are grieving a loved one,” Cooper said.

He said he is looking at ways to increase the use of face coverings, and that his office is examining issues that could surround a statewide requirement to wear masks.

“Regardless of whether it’s a law or a store requirement, wearing a face covering when you’re around other people slows the spread of the virus,” Cooper said. “This is a low-cost, low-tech way to protect ourselves and our communities.”

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said even those who aren’t at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should wear face coverings because they could pass it on to someone who is high risk.

“Remember, more than half of our fellow North Carolinians are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19,” Cohen said. “As we move around more, we’re going to come into contact with people every day who could become seriously ill with COVID-19.”

County health officials continue to warn of the threat community spread of the virus poses on Burke County. According to the dashboard, community spread was the exposure source for 35.2 percent of the county’s COVID-19 cases.

Family reunions, funerals, parties, choir practice in people’s homes, Bible studies in people’s homes, church services and other similar events where singing, shouting, talking and laughing would occur without physical distancing and face coverings are where some of Burke County’s cases of COVID-19 are contracted, according to the health department’s media briefing.

“When residents gather together especially indoors without using face coverings and not being physically distant from each other along with singing, shouting, talking, laughing, etc. it increases the risk of spreading this infection among these crowds like a wildfire,” the health department’s media briefing said.

Health officials still encourage residents to follow the three Ws: wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 feet away from others and wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Cooper said he expects to release a plan early next week to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when he announces what he will do about the stay-at-home order set to expire June 26.

Anyone with any other questions about COVID-19 should call the Burke County Public Information Line at 828-764-9168.

Chrissy Murphy can be reached at cmur phy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphy MNH on Twitter.

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