By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Hoke County was up to 103 known cases of coronavirus Tuesday, including 23 people infected in an outbreak at Canyon Hills treatment center.
So far, 14 Canyon Hills residents and nine employees – including six who live outside of Hoke County – have tested positive for the illness.
The young residents of the child behavioral health facility didn’t show symptoms of COVID-19 before they were tested, according to the Hoke County Health Department. They’re still asymptomatic and doing well, Director Helene Edwards said Monday.
The Health Department tested the residents Friday, April 24 when two employees became ill and tested positive for the virus.
Of the other known COVID-19 cases associated with Hoke County, seven are people who work at Mountaire Farms and eight are people who work at Smithfield Foods. A number of their spouses have also tested positive.
Other recently identified cases include:
- 53-year-old woman, who tested positive May 1at FirstHealth Hoke campus
- 38-year-old man, who works with a COVID-19 positive person, and tested positive May 2 at FirstHealth Hoke
- 56-year-old woman who works at a women’s prison, and tested positive May 1 at FirstHealth in Lee County
- 50-year-old woman who works at Smithfield Foods, and tested positive May 1 at Tri-County Health Center
- 28-year-old man who works at Smithfield Foods, and tested positive May 2 at Tri-County Health Center
Currently, six Hoke residents are in the hospital with coronavirus. The most recently hospitalized patient is a 28-year-old man who was visiting friends and developed breathing problems. He is in the hospital at Rex-UNC Hospitals, according to the Health Department.
Others from Hoke who are in the hospital with COVID-19 include a 27-year-old pregnant woman, a 74-year-old woman and a 53-year-old woman who works in healthcare, and is married to a spouse who also tested positive for COVID-19.
So far, no in Hoke County has died of the virus. As of Monday, there were 430 deaths in North Carolina attributed to COVID-19 causes.
Nearly 500 people across the state are hospitalized for treatment of coronavirus. North Carolina has documented more than 11,800 known cases of COVID-19 since March.
The first 23 people in Hoke County who caught coronavirus have since recovered from the illness, according to the Health Department.
• State legislature passes COVID-19 bills •
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law Monday two bipartisan-supported bills meant to help the state deal with the pandemic.
“I am signing into law two critical relief bills that will provide assistance to families, schools, hospitals and small businesses as our state battles COVID-19,” Cooper said in a statement. “There is more work ahead of us, and I hope the spirit of consensus behind these bills will continue.”
State House Speaker Tim Moore, State Democratic House Leader Darren Jackson, State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and State Democratic Senate Leader Dan Blue joined Cooper in announcing the approved bills.
The first bill, SB 704, contains provisions to help citizens. The bill did the following:
•Extended driver’s license and registration expiration deadlines
•Waived interest on tax payments normally due in April
•Modified end-of-grade testing requirements for public schools
•Adjusted the 2020-2021 K-12 public school calendar
•Authorized pharmacists to give people a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed (currently the vaccine is still in development and not ready)
Another bill, HB 1043, appropriated millions of dollars in funding to addresses coronavirus issues. The bill included:
•$125 million in small business loans through the Golden LEAF Foundation
•$95 million to support North Carolina hospitals
•$85 million for vaccine development, antibody testing, community testing, and other COVID-19-related research at Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, Campbell University, and Wake Forest University.
•$75 million for school nutrition programs
•$70 million for summer learning programs
•$50 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation supplies
•$50 million in health support for underserved communities, including rural areas and minority communities
•$30 million for local schools to purchase computers and other devices for students
•$25 million to support enhanced COVID-19 testing and tracing
•$20 million to support local health departments and the State Health Lab
•$9 million for rural broadband internet
•$6 million for food banks
North Carolina remains under a stay-at-home order until May 8. Public schools are closed for the rest of the school year.
Cooper’s three-phase plan for reopening the state could begin this weekend, depending on the virus trends state health officials are tracking. The three-phase plan would slowly ease restrictions on closed businesses over a period of about six to eight weeks.
• Driver’s license, other deadlines extended •
The state legislature voted to extend many DMV expiration dates by five months, including driver’s license and vehicle registration deadlines.
“To assist N.C. Division of Motor Vehicle customers and partners in dealing with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a provision included in the COVID-19 bill signed into law today by Governor Cooper grants a five-month extension of the expiration date on more than two dozen DMV credentials,” according to a press release.
“The bill also allows the DMV to waive any penalties for a late registration renewal during the extension period. Customers who already paid a $15 fee for a late renewal in March or April will be reimbursed.”
The five-month extension applies to any credential that expires on or after March 1, and before August 1, the agency announced. State lawmakers also extended the due dates for motor vehicle taxes that are tied to vehicle registration to correspond with the extended expiration dates.
The deadline extension includes the driver’s license, learner’s permit, limited learner’s permit, limited provisional license, commercial driver’s license, commercial learner’s permit, special identification card, handicapped placard, vehicle registration, temporary vehicle registration and more.
For more information, visit ncdot.gov.