LEDGER — Toe River Health District reported in a press release on Monday, Oct. 12, that a fifth patient diagnosed with COVID-19 in Mitchell County has passed away in connection with the virus.

“The individual, in their 50s, was hospitalized. To protect the family’s privacy no further information about the patient will be released,” the release stated.

“We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this individual,” said Toe River Health District Health Director, Diane Creek. “This virus continues to spread within our communities and has the potential to cause fatal results to anyone infected. This is one reason why it is important for everyone to comply with the face covering requirement and social distance to reduce the spread of this virus.”

Local, state and national statistics

As of Tuesday, Oct. 13, according to latest available dashboard data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, COVID-19 cases in North Carolina had increased by approximately 13,000 cases over the previous seven-day mark, as the state has more than 232,000 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The state has experienced an increase in hospitalizations of more than 200 over the span of the last week, as NCDHHS reported on Oct. 13 that 3,075,077 people were hospitalized, compared to 897 hospitalizations reported seven days earlier.

NCDHHS reports an additional 136 North Carolinians have died related to the virus over the past seven-day period, as the agency reports 3,773 overall deaths.

In Toe River Health District’s latest weekly release of county numbers on Oct. 7, TRHD reported Avery County with a total of 229 positive community cases, 205 community members have recovered, 24 community members are active, and one community death.

In more recent data, NC Department of Public Safety reports on Oct. 12 that the local prisons have 251 total positive cases between Mountain View Correction and Avery/Mitchell Correctional facilities, with 51 of the cases active. In all, NCDHHS reports Avery with 470 total positive cases as of Oct. 12.

Avery possesses the greatest number of cases per 10,000 people in Western North Carolina counties bordering Tennessee, according to NCDHHS data, with 268 cases per 10,000 residents. In comparison, NCDHHS reports Watauga has 217 cases per 10,000 residents, while Ashe has 122 cases per 10,000 residents. Graham County, the county with the second-most cases per 10,000 in the mountain region, reports 263 cases per 10,000 residents, while Cherokee County reports 250 cases per 10,000 residents.

“Public health staff is working to complete the investigations and they are contacting close contacts to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy, no further information about the cases will be released,” TRHD reported. “The Yancey, Mitchell and Avery County health departments will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through our local media partners.”

TRHD reports that Yancey County has 246 total positive cases of COVID-19 as of its Oct. 7 release, with 233 having recovered, 12 active cases and one death.

Mitchell County reported a total of 222 positive cases, with 214 having recovered, three active cases and five deaths.

Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reports more than 37.68 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with a total of 7,792,816 cases in the U.S. as of October 13. Johns Hopkins reports 214,985 reported deaths nationwide and more than 3,075,077 individuals across the country reported as having recovered from the virus.

The N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health, reporting hospitals and commercial labs report 3,411,026 completed tests as of Tuesday morning, Oct. 13, according to N.C. DHHS. The estimate of people presumed to have recovered from the virus as of Oct. 12 is more than 206,471 statewide, with the estimate provided each Monday by NCDHHS. NCDHHS estimates a median time to recovery of 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized, or if hospitalization status is unknown. The estimated median recovery time is 28 days from the date of specimen collection for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases.

In neighboring counties, Watauga County reports 1,561 positive tests and 14 deaths among residents, while Ashe County reports 386 positive cases and five deaths, according to AppHealthCare reports.

Caldwell County has 2,003 positive tests as of Oct. 13 with 18 deaths, while Wilkes County has 1,455 reported cases and 35 deaths, according to NCDHHS Dashboard data.

NCDHHS reports McDowell County with 1,136 cases and 30 deaths. Burke County reports 2,386 cases and 43 deaths attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.

In Tennessee, Johnson County reports 1,047 cases with five deaths, while Carter County reports 1,332 cases and 32 deaths as of Oct. 13, according to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health.

Statewide, Mecklenburg County has reported the most cases with 30,502. Wake County is reporting 19,160 cases and Guilford County (9,863 cases) has surpassed Durham County (8,299 cases) for third-most cases statewide, according to Oct. 13 NCDHHS statistics. At least 58 of North Carolina’s 100 counties report at least 1,000 COVID-19 cases.

The reported testing numbers could be incomplete due to differences in reporting from health departments and other agencies. Sources include Toe River Health District, AppHealthCare, NCDHHS, Caldwell County Health Department and Tennessee Department of Health.

Updated news and information on the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response can be found by clicking to covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

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