Burke County added nearly 40 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The county reported 932 positive cases on Tuesday, up from 894 cases on Monday. As of Monday, the county reported that 517 of the 894 residents who have tested positive have recovered. The county has had 19 deaths associated with the virus, with four people currently hospitalized.
The state reported Tuesday that 54,453 people statewide have tested positive for the virus, with 1,251 deaths and 915 currently hospitalized.
In a briefing on Tuesday, the county health department said many residents keep asking why the county’s cases continue to rise.
“The answer continues to be COMMUNITY SPREAD,” the briefing said. “THIS INFECTION IS ALL ABOUT BEHAVIOR.”
The health department briefing said when people stay in close contact with each other, sick or not, and do not change their behavior to help stop the spread of the infection, the numbers will continue to rise.
The health department said everyone has to do their part for the spread to stop.
“When people go out into the community, especially when they are sick, and do not follow the recommendations from the local, State and Federal Public Health Officials, the spread of this infection is going to continue,” the health department briefing said.
Health officials say community spread is now the culprit in the increase in cases in Burke County. And the community spread has been coming from people gathering for activities inside or outside and not using face coverings and not staying physically distant from others more than 6 feet away.
Some of those gatherings include family reunions, funerals, beach trips, ballgames, birthday parties and indoor church services.
“When someone who is sick or has been tested and does not stay home until they get their test results and goes to these places or gatherings, then the infection will continue to spread within Burke County and our numbers will continue to rise,” the briefing said.
As a result of the community spread, cases also can be found in local businesses, restaurants and households.
“It is everywhere within the community and in all ages,” the health department briefing said. “Everyone needs to take part in the responsibility to help reduce the spread of this infection.”
Health officials are warning residents that as the Fourth of July approaches, people really need to be aware of the risks and choose not to gather in groups at or on the lake or at people’s houses for cookouts and parties unless they can stay away from each other, wear a face covering and wash their hands frequently.
“These activities could cause another spike in cases within the county,” the briefing said.
The Burke County Health Department briefing on Monday said that due to the hot weather, the health department is changing the times of COVID testing.
Starting Thursday, the health department will only be doing COVID-19 testing outside from 8 a.m. to noon.
To make an appointment for COVID-19 testing, contact 828-764-9150. The health department is telling people not to come into the health department building to schedule an appointment or get the test.
Those with additional questions should call the county’s public information line at 828-764-9168, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Leave a message for calls made after hours and a staff member will return the call once they return.
Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or at 828-432-8946.
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