North Carolina entered into Phase 2 on Friday May 22. Phase 2 lifted the statewide stay at home order, allowed restaurants to open for on-premises dining with limited occupancy, allowed childcare businesses to serve all children, overnight camps to operate, allowed beauty parlors, barber shops, massage and tattoo businesses to open. Phase 2 also allowed people to gather together for social purposes, so long as they do not exceed the mass gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
On May 22, the reported cases in Lincoln County included 13 positive-active cases, 43 positive-recovered cases and 10 persons under investigation. According to the most recent count released by the Lincoln County Health Department on Monday, there are 57 positive-active cases, 92 positive-recovered cases and 9 persons under investigation. That’s a 325% increase in positive cases.
At the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners meeting, Davin Madden, Lincoln County’s public health director, provided an update on COVID-19.
“We’ve had a pretty significant spike in cases over the past weekend,” he said. “We certainly can’t predict the numbers, but this is not unexpected. It’s what I anticipated. If you look at the silver lining, these cases have been pretty much across the county so we’re not seeing significant outbreaks in any particular part of the county.”
There have been some positive cases in congregate living facilities, Madden said. The recent spike in cases was tied to two events, one was social in nature and another was connected to known contacts. There have been a couple of health care workers. There have been a few cases where Madden said the point of contact was unknown and he anticipates this to happen in a higher percentage of cases.
“The mortality rate of this virus as more and more cases have been identified has continued to go down,” he said. “The mortality is now, on average, roughly around 4% that of the flu, which is lower than initial numbers. It’s still very infectious and we see that with the positive cases that come to light. We’ve had a few people who needed significant medical attention, but most have a healthy recovery.”
Right now, two people are hospitalized, and both are on ventilators, according to Madden. One person has been on a ventilator for a long period of time.
Total test numbers and negative test numbers have not been consistently reported to Lincoln County Health Department; therefore, total tested and confirmed negative test numbers cannot be verified for Lincoln County going forward. All positive test results and PUIs reported to Lincoln County Health Department will continue to be verified and communicated once received.
Lincoln County included an informational graphic on June 10 which provides citizens of the county with vital information on the spread of coronavirus. Since the county started testing, the health department has spent more than 5,500 hours in contact tracing which means tracing and monitoring contacts of infected people, notifying them of their exposure and supporting the quarantine of contacts. They’ve answered more than 900 triage calls and staff has spent more than 1,550 hours responding to the pandemic, also more than doubled since the April release.
Of those people who tested positive in the county, 66% were in the central Lincolnton area, 26% were on the eastern side of the county and 8% were on the western side.
Of the positive Lincoln County cases, 10 individuals were in the 0-17 age group, six males and four females. Thirteen cases were aged 18-24, six males and seven females. The largest number of cases were between the ages of 25-49, 20 were female and 26 were male. Of those who tested positive between the ages of 50-64, 15 were male, 15 were female. Four males and five females aged 65+ were among the positive results.
Again, there have been no confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Lincoln County.
To date, North Carolina has more than 45,000 people who have been tested positive with the coronavirus, according to data released Monday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS reported 1,118 people have died from the virus, nine more than Sunday. The state has tested 638,479 people since the onset of the pandemic.