More than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, 10 in Hoke

By Catharin Shepard – Staff writer –

There are now 10 positive cases of COVID-19 connected to Hoke County, health officials said Friday. North Carolina has at least 2,093 known cases of COVID-19 across the state.

Hoke’s known positive cases include:

  • The first local patient who tested positive March 18, and has recovered
  • Two Fort Bragg/military-connected patients with Hoke home addresses
  • A contractor working in New York who has a Hoke address, but has not been back to the county in a while
  • A healthcare worker who tested positive April 1, and is in isolation
  • An 18-year-old and a 66-year-old who separately traveled to New York in early March, and have recovered
  • A man who caught the virus in New York and also infected his pregnant wife
  • A patient who became ill March 24 and received a positive test result Friday, and has already recovered

At least 19 people in North Carolina have died due to COVID-19. None of the deaths were in Hoke County. More than 250 people are in hospitals across the state receiving treatment for the illness.

Laboratories in North Carolina have processed more than 31,000 COVID-19 tests since the start of the outbreak. Thousands more tests are still pending processing.

It’s taking as long as two weeks for doctors to get COVID-19 test results, according to the Hoke County Health Department. By the time the test results come back, many patients have already recovered.

Patients can spread the virus to others during that time. That’s why doctors isolate patients who might have the coronavirus, even without knowing the test results.

North Carolina hasn’t seen the outbreak peak yet, state health officials said. Researchers are still working to figure out when that will happen. State officials could release a forecast model next week.

(Information from ncdhhs.gov)


Cape Fear Valley Pediatric Care employee in Fayetteville tests positive
A provider at Cape Fear Valley Pediatric Care, located at 1262 Oliver Street in Fayetteville, tested positive for the coronavirus. The healthcare system learned about the positive case Wednesday, according to a press release.

The provider hasn’t been at work since Friday, March 27. The provider didn’t have symptoms while seeing patients, officials said.

The press release said: “Upon notification, Cape Fear Valley, in coordination with the Cumberland County Department of Public Health, began evaluating the risk of exposure to patients and staff of the pediatric practice. The Health Department has determined that the risk of exposure to patients seen at the office during the week of March 23 is low, and thus is not advising contact tracing or individual patient notification at this time.”

“Out of an abundance of caution, Cape Fear Valley has elected to close Cape Fear Valley Pediatric Care to allow for a terminal clean of the building and to ensure no other staff members become symptomatic. Existing patients who have upcoming appointments are being notified of the office closure and those with necessary appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”

Patients who visited the pediatric clinic the week of March 23, and who have concerns about possible COVID-19 exposure, can call the practice’s triage line at (910) 615-4801.


RU DUE 4/20? Need to renew?
Car inspections are still available for people who need to renew their vehicle tags. Garages are considered “essential” under the stay-at-home order, and are still open. According to Hoke Sheriff Hubert Peterkin, people “can still take care of those needed things.”

Many inspection stations are putting measures in place to help keep customers safe, officials with the North Carolina Department of Transportation said. Customers who need a vehicle inspection can call inspection stations and ask about the precautions that station is taking.

People who are at-risk or worried about being exposed to COVID-19 can ask someone else to drive the vehicle to the inspection station. The owner of the vehicle does not have to be the person who takes the car in for an inspection, an NCDOT official said in an email.

Vehicle registration is a matter of state law. It would take a decision from state legislators to change the law. Neither the DMV nor the Governor have the authority to change the vehicle registration law, according to an NCDOT spokesman.

(Note: The News-Journal is looking more deeply into this issue. We’ll have a full story in next week’s issue, with more information.)


Court proceedings postponed to June 1
Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order Thursday postponing court proceedings in North Carolina until June 1.

The order also does the following:

  • Continues to direct clerks of court to post notices at court facilities discouraging entry by those infected with COVID-19
  • Authorizes court proceedings to be conducted by remote audio and video transmissions
  • Directs attorneys and others without business before the court to avoid court facilities
  • Allows use of a sworn statement under penalty of perjury rather than notarization for court filings and oaths
  • Allows service of court documents by email
  • Extends the deadline for payment of most fines and fees by 90 days and directs clerks not to report failures to pay court debt to the DMV.

The Chief Justice’s order also extends the time for payment for court debts in traffic and criminal cases for 90 days. Additionally, it suspends reporting of failures to pay to the DMV, according to a press release from Beasley’s office.

“Judicial officials and court personnel statewide are going above and beyond to serve the public during this health emergency,” Beasley said in a statement. “My number one priority is to protect them and the public by limiting gatherings and foot traffic in our county courthouses, while making sure our courts stay available to serve the public.”


Mobile meals and learning Monday
Hoke County Schools recognized spring break this week. The mobile meal deliveries and online student learning/distance learning will start again Monday.


Legal answers available
N.C. Free Legal Answers is offering free answers to legal questions for people who qualify. People who qualify based on income, and have questions that do not involve criminal matters, can contact N.C. Free Legal Answers. The resource is a partnership between the North Carolina Bar Foundation and the American Bar Association. A team of more than 400 volunteer attorneys is taking questions for people who qualify.
Post your question and wait for an email letting you know it has been answered. To register, visit nc.freelegalanswers.org.


Need help? Call 2-1-1
N.C. 2-1-1 is set up as a helpline to connect people affected by COVID-19 with food help, rent assistance and other resources.
For more local updates on COVID-19, visit the county’s website readyhoke.org.