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 475 cases as of 4 p.m. 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 a statewide level, NCDHHS reported a total number of 8,502 tests have been conducted for the coronavirus, 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 the 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 142 reported cases, Durham County with 71 reported cases and Wake County with 66 reported cases, according to the News & Observer.
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.
AppHealthCare, which serves Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties, reported that it has collected no tests in Ashe County in the past 24 hours and the agency has collected two tests to date, while outside agencies have collected a total of 21 tests to date for the county.
In Watauga County, AppHealthCare reports that it has collected a total of four tests within the previous 24-hour period and 62 tests to date, while outside agencies have reported a total of 91 tests for the county.
Deb Gragg with the Avery County Health Department reported on March 23 the department has conducted 23 tests, with nine coming back negative.
Johns Hopkins University and Medicine reports as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, that a total of 51,542 confirmed cases in the United States, a jump of more than 4,000 cases since noon. 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 674 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.
How to protect yourself
- Practice social distancing. This means avoiding gatherings, keeping 6 feet or more among others others and remaining at home to the greatest extent possible
- Frequent hand washing
- Stay home when sick
- Keep distance from others who are sick
- Avoid touching ones face
- Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles
COVID-19 signs and symptoms
- Shortness of breath
Based on recommendations issued by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, most people do not need testing for COVID-19, according to AppHealthCare. When leave the home to get tested, people could be exposed to COVID-19 if they do not already have it. If someone does have COVID-19, they can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk.
People at high risk include anyone who:
- Is 65 years of age or older
- Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Have 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.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus.
North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus. To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, click here.
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 www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.”