RALEIGH — The number of presumptive positive cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in North Carolina rose to at least 63 cases as of 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced.

The positive cases come from 18 different N.C. counties. The second Watauga County case reported on March 18 came after the N.C. DHHS update and was not included in the count of 63.

There are no reported positive cases in the surrounding counties of Ashe, Avery, Wilkes or Caldwell and no N.C. deaths have been reported from the virus, as of 12:30 p.m., March 18.

The number is the largest single-day case increase in the state so far, up from the 40 reported by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper the day before. The positive results come from 1,850 completed tests. Testing has increased by several hundred in the last few days as more are becoming available.

According to a joint statement from the Durham County Department of Public Health and Duke University on March 17, they have 15 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 stemming from an overseas Duke University program and all were directed to self-quarantine upon arrival.

The number is an increase from one case in Durham County previously reported. The N.C. DHHS's map only shows a total of 12 cases in Durham County.

The U.S. case county has risen to more than 6,500, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which is tracking the number of cases worldwide through various data sources. Total number of deaths from COVID-19 in America are approximately 100, according to the data map.

Cooper said on March 17 that community spread has likely already happened in the state and that there are likely many more cases yet to come.

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