By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Three more Hoke County residents have died of coronavirus-related causes, bringing the local COVID-19 death toll to 12 people since the start of the pandemic.
The most recent deaths were a white woman who died August 9 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas, and a man of unknown race who died August 6 FirstHealth of the Carolinas, according to the Hoke County Health Department. Another death was reported Tuesday by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), but further information about that person was not immediately available.
Prior deaths include a white man who died August 1 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; a white man who died July 27 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; a white man who died July 21 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; an African-American man who died July 13 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; a Hispanic woman who died July 7 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; a Hispanic woman who died July 2 at Cape Fear Valley Health System; a Hispanic woman who died June 18 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; an African-American man who died June 12 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas; and a Native American woman who died May 21 at UNC Hospitals.
Health officials have not released further identifying details about the people who have died.
Hoke County was up to 788 total known cases of coronavirus since the first known local case was identified March 18. More than 660 of those people have since recovered from the illness.
Over 35 Hoke residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19 at one point or another during the pandemic. Over a dozen people from Hoke were in the hospital with the virus as of last week, according to the Health Department.
The Health Department’s staff was monitoring last week 86 people in isolation who tested positive and were considered contagious with the virus. That was down from earlier in August, when the department reported monitoring 189 active cases. It takes about two weeks for a person with mild symptoms to be cleared from isolation.
North Carolina state health officials continue to urge people to wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public and follow the mandatory face covering requirement by wearing a mask.
NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen reported that North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends remain stable, but the number of cases is “still too high.” Gov. Roy Cooper urged residents to “double down” on safety efforts as the state continues its second phase of reopening through the middle of September.
“As we remain paused in Safer At Home Phase 2 and school goes back into session, now is the time to double down on our efforts. Not only will it boost the economy, but it could also save your life or the life of a loved one,” Cooper said in a statement.
Hospitalization numbers are also stable, with hospitals across North Carolina maintaining bed availability, the governor’s office said in a press release. The state is equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies to continue fighting the pandemic, Cooper’s office said. Health officials continue working to get test results faster, and increase the amount of daily testing statewide.