RALEIGH — As the cases of COVID-19 continue to increase on a national level, the number of positive cases continues to follow suit within the borders of North Carolina.
COVID-19 positive cases reported for the state has continued its rising trend of recent days, as the number increased to at least 458 cases as of noon on Tuesday, March 24, according to reports from the Raleigh News & Observer.
This number varies from reports provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as the agency reports 398 positive cases, with its reporting process occurring as a single daily update by 11 a.m.
“Some cases reported by county health departments can take 24 to 48 hours before they are included in the number reported by the state,” the News & Observer reports. The News & Observer is compiling the numbers of cases announced by counties throughout the day in more of a real-time format.
On Monday, March 23, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 120, which mandated that public schools continue to remain closed until at least May 15. Gov. Cooper also increased the restrictions on mass gatherings from 100 to 50 persons and ordered gyms, barber shops, tattoo parlors, spas, movie theaters and other businesses without a retail or dining component to close down by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.
Local government operations will continue as usual, and long-term-care facilities are ordered to restrict visitation and access except for essential personnel.
Mission Hospitals announced on Saturday, March 21, that it will suspend all non-essential surgeries and procedures in order to more effectively respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On a statewide level, NCDHHS reported a total number of 8,502 tests have been conducted for the coronavirus as of March 24, which were conducted at the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health and did not include tests at university and commercial laboratories.
According to the News & Observer, a little greater than half of the state’s 100 counties have reported confirmed cases of the virus. The latest increase on March 24 includes a third case reported from Watauga County, as well as cases reported in Mecklenburg, Jackson, Wayne, Vance, Hoke, Rowan, Pitt, Franklin, Orange, Cabarrus, Iredell, Guilford, Union and Transylvania counties, according to the News & Observer.
The counties with the highest total number of cases across the state include Mecklenburg County, with 127 reported cases, Durham County with 71 reported cases and Wake County with 66 reported cases, according to the newspaper.
Within the region of the High Country, Watauga County has reported three cases of COVID-19, the third of which was reported March 24 by AppHealthCare. Both Ashe and Avery counties have yet to report a positive case of the virus within its borders. Deb Gragg with the Avery County Health Department reported on March 23 that the department has conducted 23 tests, with nine coming back negative.
Johns Hopkins University and Medicine reports as of noon on Tuesday, March 24, a total of 46,548 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, a jump of more than 3,000 cases since the previous evening. The total represents the third-largest total of cases worldwide, trailing only China and Italy. The university reported that there had been a total of 592 deaths across the country to date related to COVID-19 as of Tuesday, March 24.
To date, no deaths within the state of North Carolina have been reported, according to NCDHHS.