North Carolina sees number of COVID-19 cases jump to 504, first two deaths reported

North Carolina

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 11, 2020 file photo, a technician prepares COVID-19 coronavirus patient samples for testing at a laboratory in New York’s Long Island. Wide scale testing is a critical part of tracking and containing infectious diseases. But the U.S. effort has been plagued by a series of missteps, including accuracy problems with the test kits the CDC sent to other labs and bureaucratic hurdles that slowed the entrance of large, private sector labs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina health officials say there are 504 cases of coronavirus across the state as of Wednesday, and now the state’s first two coronavirus-related deaths.

According to a release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office, a person from Cabarrus County died on Tuesday from complications associated with coronavirus. The patient was in their late 70s and had multiple underlying health conditions, officials said.

The second person who died was in their 60s and from Virginia. They were traveling through North Carolina and also died from complications related to the virus.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. This is a stark warning that for some people COVID-19 is a serious illness. All of us must do our part to stop the spread by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Cooper.

North Carolina health officials now say there are 504 cases of coronavirus across the state.

The number of cases stood at 398 on Tuesday.

Not included in the new numbers is a case involving a person in Dare County. The Dare County Division of Public Health announced its first positive test result for COVID-19 on Wednesday, but said the person did not use a Dare County address when tested.

“The individual has been self-isolating since being tested and doing well,” according to Dr. Sheila Davies, Director of the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services. Officials believe the individual acquired the virus through travel or direct contact and that this is not a case of community spread.

The number of cases has steadily moved up since North Carolina announced its first case on March 3.

The increase in cases can be connected to the expansion of testing – which occurs at the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health as well as hospitals and commercial labs.

The state said a total of 10,489 tests have been completed – close to 2,000 additional tests as compared to Tuesday.

Number of COVID-19 tests completed in North Carolina

  • March 18: 1,850
  • March 19: 2,505
  • March 20: 3,233
  • March 21: 5,276
  • March 22: 6,438
  • March 23: 8,438
  • March 24: 8,502
  • March 25: 10,489

Durham Mayor Steve Schewel is expected to announce a “stay-at-home” order Wednesday morning – which would restrict movement by the public except for essential jobs and tasks related to health and food.

Mecklenburg County issued a similar order on Tuesday – which is set to take effect at 8 a.m. Thursday. In Mecklenburg County, roughly 1 in 5 reported cases were hospitalized due to their COVID-19 infection.

And a little more than half of Mecklenburg County’s patients were ages 20-39.

On Tuesday, Dr. Betsy Tilson with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance in terms of what the public should do if they are experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms.

“Stay at home,” Tilson said.

She asked for anyone with mild symptoms to stay at home and call their doctor so testing and medical supplies go to those who are high risk.

The Chatham County Public Health Department said it was notified of three additional positive tests on Tuesday.

On March 6, Chatham County announced its first COVID-19 case. That case was the second coronavirus case in the state.

Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long asked the public to not focus on the number of cases but to see that there are cases as a result of community transmission.

“Stay home and away from public places to the fullest extent possible, practice social distancing, if you do have to go out, do not go out,” Long said.

Gov. Roy Cooper does not have a scheduled press conference on Wednesday. If that changes, you can count on 10 On Your Side to provide an update.

Johns Hopkins University said there have been 803 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S.

As of Wednesday morning, the University said there are 55,243 cases across America.

COVID-19 North Carolina timeline

  • March 3: NCDHHS announces state’s first COVID-19 case
  • March 10: Gov. Roy Cooper declares State of Emergency
  • March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
  • March 13: President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency
  • March 14: Cooper issues Executive Order 117 closing K-12 public schools until at least March 30 and banning gatherings of more than 100 people
  • March 16: NCDHHS recommends no mass gatherings for more than 50 people
  • March 17: Cooper issues Executive Order 118 limiting operations of restaurants and bars, and broadening unemployment insurance benefits
  • March 23: Cooper issues Executive Order 120 which closes public K-12 schools through May 15 and orders businesses such as barbershops and salons to close.

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