Two more deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in Burke County and the county is now listed as one in the state with critical community spread.
The deaths, which were reported Friday, claimed a person in their 50s and another in their 80s, both of whom were hospitalized but later died from COVID-19-related medical complications, according to a release from the Burke County Health Department.
The new deaths brought the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in Burke County up to 111, from the 109 deaths reported Thursday.
Burke added 91 cases of COVID-19 to its total Friday, bringing the total number of cases up to 8,165, according to a separate release from the health department.
Saturday’s COVID-19 update was not sent before The News Herald went to press.
On the county’s online COVID-19 dashboard, which lags behind daily media briefings and was reporting only 8,112 total cases Friday afternoon, there were 1,588 active cases of the virus. That is down from the 1,681 active cases reported on the dashboard Thursday afternoon.
Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge also has a COVID-19 dashboard, which reported 28 COVID-19 patients hospitalized Friday. Five of those patients were in the intensive care unit.
Outbreaks at schools and congregate living facilities were updated Friday by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Outbreaks were reported at the following:
- Valdese Elementary School remains on the list with three children and three staff members infected.
- Icard Elementary School in Icard also remains on the list with five staff members who have been infected with the virus.
- Hildebran Elementary School in Hildebran remains on the list with five staff members infected with the virus.
- Christ Classical Academy in Rutherford College remains on the list with a total of eight cases, with seven children and one staff member infected.
- Autumn Care of Drexel has a total of 26 cases, with 17 residents and nine staff members infected with the virus.
- Jonas Ridge Adult Care remains at two staff members infected with the virus.
- Grace Heights Health and Rehabilitation has eight total cases, with two residents and six staff members infected.
- College Pines Health and Rehabilitation in Rutherford College has a total of 124 cases, with 79 residents and 47 staff members infected. The facility has had 17 residents die from the virus.
- Carolina Rehab of Burke in Icard has a total of 41 cases, with 34 residents and eight staff members infected. It has reported four residents have died from the virus. The facility’s website on Friday showed it has no current cases of residents or staff member infected. It lists a total of 99 resident cases and a total of 55 staff cases since May 1.
- Grace Ridge Retirement Community in Morganton still has a total of four cases, with one resident and three staff members infected.
- Magnolia Lane Nursing and Rehab Center in Morganton has a total of 48 cases, with 29 residents and 19 staff members infected.
- The Berkeley - Assisted Living & Memory Care remains at seven total cases, with two residents and five staff members infected. It has had one resident die from the virus.
- J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center still has seen 132 total cases with 29 residents and 103 staff members infected.
Thursday was the first time Burke County was listed as a red county for critical community spread on NCDHHS county alert system. It wasn’t the only county – 85 other counties earned the rating with the Thursday update.
To get a red rating, counties must have more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents in 14 days with at least 42 cases in 14 days, and either a percent positive rate that is higher than 10% or a high impact on county hospitals.
North Carolina added 7,181 cases of the virus Saturday and 7,436 cases Sunday, bringing the total number of cases up to 712,716, according to NCDHHS.
The positivity rate went up to 10.9% Saturday. On Friday, it was just 10.1%
Hospitalizations dropped by 96 cases Saturday to 3,416. On Friday, there were 3,512 people hospitalized.
There were 8,586 total deaths Saturday, up from 8,464 deaths Friday.
Health officials continue to emphasize the three W's: wearing a cloth face covering, washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer and waiting 6 feet apart from others.
Vaccinating the public is a slow process, and local and state health leaders are urging patience for the rollout of the vaccine.
To get vaccinated in Burke County, residents 65 and older can call the Community Vaccine Call Center at 828-358-4454. The call center will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Anyone with local questions about COVID-19 can call 828-764-9150. The line is answered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If a call is made after hours, on the weekends or on holidays, the caller should leave a message and the call will be returned.