By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Hoke County was up to a total of 283 known cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, according to numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The county added about 35 known positive cases over the past week. The total number includes the county’s known active cases, and people who tested positive and have since recovered dating back to the start of the pandemic in March.
Some of the recent positive results came from the final days of free drive-through testing offered until May 30 through a Harris-Teeter partnership with The Little Clinic. The drive-through tested more than 780 people for COVID-19 and identified more than 30 cases in six of the seven days it offered the service.
In general Hoke County’s number of cases appears to be stable at this time, according to Hoke County Health Department officials. At least 125 of the 283 known cases in Hoke County are out of isolation orders and are presumed recovered from COVID-19.
Under new NCDHHS guidance released Tuesday, people who participated in rallies, marches, protests or other mass gatherings should likely be tested for COVID-19.
“People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others. Testing should be considered for people who attended such events, particularly if they were in crowds or other situations where they couldn’t practice effective social distancing,” NCDHHS said in its new guidelines.
North Carolina has had more than 37,100 laboratory-confirmed cases since the pandemic hit the United States in March. Laboratories in the state have processed more than 535,000 COVID-19 tests.
Over 1,000 people in North Carolina, and more than 100,000 people across the United States have died of COVID-19 related causes. So far, one person from Hoke County with COVID-19 has died. The person tested positive for the virus and died May 21 at UNC Hospitals due to complications related to an existing medical condition, health officials reported last month.
North Carolina is now in the second phase of a three-phase reopening plan. The state could potentially enter phase three and see more businesses such as movie theaters reopen in late June or early July. However, the state continues to see new record high numbers of newly identified cases of COVID-19 and new high numbers of daily hospitalizations for the illness.
State officials announced this week guidance for school systems to take into account when planning for reopening public schools in the fall. Governor Roy Cooper, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen shared the guidance Monday.
The state told school districts to prepare for three possible outcomes: Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing, Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing, or Plan C: Remote Learning Only.
“NC DHHS, in consultation with the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, will announce by July 1 which of the three plans should be implemented for schools to most safely reopen. The remaining plans may be needed if the state’s COVID-19 metrics change over time,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Public health officials continued to encourage North Carolina residents to wear face coverings in public, wait six feet apart from others and wash hands frequently.