Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is reporting the state’s highest one day number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,370 cases reported.
Other metrics that the state is watching also increased. The percent of tests that were positive climbed to 10 percent. This metric is based only on labs that report electronically to the state. In addition, hospitalizations have exceeded 700 for three of the past five days.
“These are very concerning numbers. We must protect our loved ones and neighbors by working together. It begins with the three Ws – wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart and washing hands frequently. It doesn’t stop there. Testing and knowing who has been exposed so they can have the resources and support they need are our tools for slowing the spread of this virus,” said NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
The state is focused on rapidly increasing testing of people who may not currently have symptoms, but may have been exposed to COVID-19, especially people from historically marginalized populations who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
In addition, testing is a priority for anyone who has symptoms or those who may have been exposed to COVID-19, including:
♦ Anyone who has attended a mass gathering including a protest;
♦ Anyone who works in a setting at higher risk of exposure such as a grocery store, restaurant, gas station, or child care program; and
♦ People who live or work in high-risk settings such as long-term facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities or food processing facilities
While testing has significantly expanded in the past month, NCDHHS will direct resources to focus efforts on counties experiencing more rapid viral spread. The Department will work in partnership with coordinated teams in high-risk counties to rapidly accelerate testing and contact tracing, including local health departments, hospitals, community health centers, other health care providers, county managers, emergency managers, local leaders, the private sector, and others.
Slowing the spread of the virus depends on people knowing when they have been exposed to COVID-19. Through contact tracing, local health department staff and other COVID-19 Community Team members reach out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and connect them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones.
It is important that people answer the call when the Community Team reaches out. Individuals being contacted will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov with follow-up phone calls from their local health department or NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223). The Community Team will never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. Any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential.
NCDHHS has new tools to help people know if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and to find a nearby testing place:
♦ Check My Symptoms (www.ncdhhs.gov/symptoms), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
♦ Find My Testing Place (www.ncdhhs.gov/TestingPlace), a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online.