NEWLAND — And then there were none.
Avery County Health Department announced the finding of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Avery County on Monday afternoon, May 18. Avery was the final county in North Carolina that had yet to report a positive test for the virus.
The department said in a release that the individual is currently in isolation, and that public health staff have already initiated an investigation. Close contacts of the individual have been identified, and officials are working to contain the spread of the virus.
Toe River Health District also reports two additional COVID-19 cases in Yancey County, bringing the county’s total to 10 confirmed cases.
“As our counties start opening back up, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is still here,” Toe River Health District Health Director Diane Creek said. “We are blessed in Avery County to have a strong community. Your public officials and county leadership have been working tirelessly to prepare for the impact of this virus. Community members can do their part by continuing to follow the guidelines, and remember that we’re all in this together, and to support one another.”
Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye confirmed that the case is affiliated with the Sheriff’s Office. Frye added that the individual was asymptomatic and had taken a test for COVID-19 in conjunction with other standard health precautions.
Like other county departments, the Sheriff’s Office has been following state health and safety guidelines, such as checking employee temperatures when they arrive to work.
“We’re taking every precaution that is available to make sure we curtail the spread here,” Frye said.
North Carolina health officials report there have been a total of 19,023 lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19, according to statistics posted from NCDHHS. The state also reports 661 virus-related deaths.
NCDHHS reports 511 people are currently hospitalized.
The Raleigh News & Observer newspaper reported that 693 individuals have died from the virus, with 19,239 cases statewide as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19.
The numbers reported by the newspaper, which is compiling the numbers of cases announced by counties throughout the day, vary from the daily reports provided by N.C. DHHS. N.C. DHHS has emphasized that not all people with symptoms of COVID-19 are being tested, and the numbers reported by county and state health departments do not represent the total number of people infected throughout the state.
Nationwide, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine reports a total of 1,509,202 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 11 a.m. on May 19, with 90,373 reported deaths and more than 283,178 individuals reported as having recovered from the virus.
A total of 265,008 tests had been completed by the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health and reporting hospitals and commercial labs as of May 19, according to N.C. DHHS. The estimate of people who have recovered from the virus is 11,637, 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.
According to Toe River Health District, which includes Avery County Health Department, 437 people in Avery County have been tested, with 487 negative results and 55 tests pending, as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19.
A total of 227 people have been tested in Mitchell County as of Tuesday, May 19, with 208 negative results, with 13 results pending. The county has reported six total positive tests for COVID-19, according to TRHD, with five cases having recovered. Yancey County, the latest county to report its first case of COVID-19, reports 525 people tested, with 323 negative results, 192 results pending and 10 current active positive cases of COVID-19.
In neighboring counties, Watauga County has 11 positive tests among residents, Caldwell County has 90 positive tests as of May 19 with two deaths, while Wilkes County has 441 reported cases and one death, according to NCDHHS. Ashe County has 28 cases, and the department reports McDowell County with 32 cases and one death. Burke County reports 203 cases, with 14 deaths in that county attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.
In Tennessee, Johnson County has reported 15 cases and Carter County has reported 19 cases with one death, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Statewide, Mecklenburg County has reported the most cases with 2,704. Wake County is reporting 1,264 and Durham County reports 1,046 cases.