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34 new COVID-19 cases added in Burke
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34 new COVID-19 cases added in Burke

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Burke County added another 34 cases to its COVID-19 total on Thursday, and health officials say residents now have another viral threat.

The Burke County Health Department reported a total of 2,893 cases on Thursday, up from 2,859 cases on Wednesday.

The county COVID-19 dashboard, which lags behind the daily health department briefings, showed Thursday that of the total, 2,396 people have recovered. The dashboard shows six people in the county are currently hospitalized due to the virus. The county has previously reported 52 deaths from COVID-19.

Rebecca McLeod, director of the Burke County Health Department, said the county has community spread with household contact.

The county dashboard shows community spread and close contact are the two primary ways the virus is being spread in the county.

And while county residents have been dealing with COVID-19 since March, they now will also have to contend with the flu. McLeod said the flu is in Burke County now.

Health officials have been pleading with folks to not go to work or out in public if they are sick. One of the first signs of COVID-19, say health officials, is losing the sense of taste and smell. McLeod said if someone loses their sense of taste and smell they should be tested for COVID-19.

McLeod and state health officials also have been asking people to follow the three Ws, which is wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart from others and washing hands frequently or using hand sanitizer.

“Whatever your reason, wear a mask,” McLeod said.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated its congregate living outbreak list on Tuesday.

On the list in Burke County is:

  • College Pines Health and Rehabilitation in Rutherford College with a total of 104 cases, with 72 residents and 32 staff members. The facility has had seven residents die from the virus.
  • Carolina Rehab of Burke in Icard with a total of 68 total cases, with 46 residents and 22 staff members. The facility has had 12 residents die from the virus.
  • Autumn Care of Drexel has a total of 42 cases, with 29 residents and 13 staff members. The facility has had two residents die from the virus.
  • J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center has a total of 38 cases, with 10 residents and 28 staff members.

In addition, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is reporting there are currently nine active cases of the virus at Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton.

NCDHHS distributed updated guidance for places of worship and religious services. To read the information on the updated guidance, visit the Burke County Health Department’s Facebook page and refer to the Oct. 19 post or visit Burke County’s website at and scroll to News & Announcements and look for the Oct. 19 post.

NCDHHS reported a spike of new COVID-19 cases of 2,400 throughout the state on Thursday for a total of 252,992, up from 250,592 on Wednesday, with a daily percent positive rate of 5.9 percent.

Of the total cases in the state, NCDHHS reported Monday that 218,541 cases are presumed to be recovered.

The department reported a total of 4,082 deaths on Thursday, up from 4,032 deaths on Wednesday, and 1,205 people in the state currently hospitalized.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday the state will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks, saying the state has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. 

State officials have been saying the virus in the state has been moving in the wrong direction.

For those struggling to pay rent or utilities, the Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program will provide rent and utility assistance to low- and moderate-income renters that have fallen behind because of COVID-19. The HOPE program will provide up to six months of rent or utility assistance.

To apply online, visit To apply by phone, call 2-1-1 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and choose either English or Spanish.

NCDHHS says anyone with symptoms or anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms, should be tested for the virus.

To make an appointment for COVID-19 testing at the Health Department, call 828-764-9150. The Health Department also reminded residents to make sure they give the name on their birth certificate and their address so that positive test results are correctly attributed to the county.

For questions about the virus, call the county’s public information line at 828-764-9168.

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