RALEIGH — North Carolina health officials report there have been a total of 17,982 lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state as of 11 a.m. Saturday, May 16, according to statistics posted from NCDHHS. The state also reports 652 virus-related deaths.

NCDHHS reports 481 people are currently hospitalized.

The Raleigh News & Observer newspaper reported that 676 individuals have died from the virus, with 18,101 cases statewide as of 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 16.

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 1,456,841 cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of 3 p.m. on May 16, with 88,230 reported deaths and more than 250,747 individuals reported as having recovered from the virus.

A total of 238,586 tests had been completed by the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health and reporting hospitals and commercial labs as of May 16, according to N.C. DHHS. The estimate of people who have recovered from the virus is 9,115, 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.

Avery County has reported no positive tests for COVID-19 as of 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, the only North Carolina county yet to report a positive case. 

According to Toe River Health District, which includes Avery County Health Department, 438 people in Avery County have been tested, with 405 negative results and 33 tests pending, as of 3 p.m. on May 16. The increase in tests administered and pending totals are contributed in part to the drive-through testing clinic held at Avery County Health Department's parking lot in Newland on Thursday, May 7.

A total of 203 people have been tested in Mitchell County as of Friday morning, May 15, with 182 negative results and 16 results pending. Later in the day, the county reported a sixth positive test, and five cases have recovered.

Yancey County, the latest county to report its first case of COVID-19, reports 497 people tested, with 202 negative results, 287 results pending and eight current active positive cases of COVID-19 with one case recovered.

In neighboring counties, Watauga County has nine positive tests among residents, Caldwell County has 78 positive tests as of May 16 with two deaths, while Wilkes County has 405 reported cases and one death, according to NCDHHS. Ashe County has 26 cases, and the department reports McDowell County with 30 cases and one death. Burke County reports 191 cases and 14 deaths attributed to the virus, according to NCDHHS.

In Tennessee, Johnson County has reported 15 cases and Carter County has reported 18 cases and one death attributed to the virus as of May 16, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

Statewide, Mecklenburg County has reported the most cases with 2,504. Wake County is reporting 1,176 cases and Durham County reports 974 cases.

How to Protect Yourself

● Practice social distancing. This means avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, keeping 6 feet or more from others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible

● Frequent hand washing

● Cover a cough or sneeze

● Keep distance from others who are sick

● Avoid touching the face

● Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles

● Wear cloth mask or face covering when out in public when possibly being around people like grocery stores or pharmacies.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of reported symptoms.

● Fever

● Cough

● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

● Chills

● Repeated shaking with chills

● Muscle pain

● Headache

● Sore throat

● New loss of taste or smell

People at high risk include anyone who:

● Is 65 years of age or older

● Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility

● Has a high-risk condition that includes:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Heart disease with complications
  • Compromised immune system
  • Severe obesity - body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
  • Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

People who are at high risk should stay home to the greatest extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.

Managing Your Overall Health

During this time, it is important to manage one's overall health. There are resources available if needed to reduce anxiety or stress, if someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts, if there's a need to better manage chronic conditions and more. Visit the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website at

Additional Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website can be found at

North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map and additional metrics, click to

A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to and select “chat.”

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