By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Another person from Hoke has died of coronavirus-related causes, and testing has identified another new outbreak at a congregate living site in Hoke County, according to health officials.
An African-American man who died October 19 at FirstHealth of the Carolinas was the twenty-sixth person with a permanent Hoke County address to die of COVID-19 related causes, according to the Hoke County Health Department.
He was the sixth Hoke resident to die after testing positive for COVID-19 in the month of October. Seven people died in September, five people died in August, five died in July, two died in June and one person died in May. Officials have not released further details about the deceased.
Three of the deceased were residents at Autumn Care nursing home in Raeford, according to reports from the state. Autumn Care is experiencing an outbreak of the virus, with 17 staff members and 40 residents total having tested positive since the start of the outbreak in late August. The Hoke Health Department is working closely with the nursing home to manage the outbreak.
As of Monday, Hoke County was up to 1,559 total known cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Of those cases, at least 1,359 are considered recovered from the virus. Currently the Hoke County Health Department is following 174 active cases of COVID-19 in the county. Hoke has seen at least 77 new cases in the last seven days, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and 163 new cases over the last two weeks.
Hospitalizations across the state continue to rise, as state health officials raise alarms about an increase in the number of new virus infections. There were 26 people from Hoke County hospitalized with coronavirus this week, and at least 55 people from Hoke have been hospitalized with the virus since March, according to the Health Department.
A new outbreak in Hoke County was added to the list of congregate living sites with at least two laboratory-confirmed positive cases. Five residents and four staff members at Serenity group home in Raeford have tested positive, according to Hoke health officials.
None of the residents or staff members are reportedly experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. The group home is following infection control measures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the Health Department.
The group home is one of multiple local facilities that have experienced recent outbreaks. Autumn Care nursing home, Open Arms retirement facility, and Canyon Hills behavioral treatment center for youth have all reported outbreaks in recent months. Two staff members tested positive at Open Arms, and two staff members and two Canyon Hills
An update from the NCDHHS published October 26 showed several “key takeaways” from monitoring clusters of cases across North Carolina:
• Cases associated with clusters in religious gatherings have increased since mid-September.
• Cases associated with clusters in social gatherings (such as parties, family gatherings, weddings, funerals) increased in September, after few cases were reported in August
• The number of cases associated with clusters in colleges, and universities have continued at a steady level since the beginning of September, after peaking in late August.
• No cases associated with clusters in agriculture, food processing, or construction/contractor settings have been reported during the month of October.
<02>Free testing available
<01>There are multiple places in Hoke County offering no-cost drive-thru COVID-19 testing through December in partnership with the Hoke County Health Department and OptumServe, a federal health services provider.
Testing is available at the following locations and dates:
• Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Community Recreation Center, 373 Pittman Grove Church Road, is offering free testing October 26, November 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, and December 7 and 14. Testing is available on those days from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The site is closed for a half-hour lunch break.
• The Hoke County Health Department, 683 East Palmer Road, is offering free testing October 28, 30, November 4, 6, 13, 18, 20 and December 2, 4, 9 and 11. Testing is available from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on those days. The site is closed for a half-hour lunch break.
• The 211 Sports Complex and Park, 3195 Red Springs Road, is offering free testing October 29, November 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, and December 1, 3, 8 and 10. Testing is available from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on those days. The site is closed for a half-hour lunch break.
Anyone who meets the testing criteria can be tested at an OptumServe community testing site, including uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals, according to the program. OptumServe will generate a unique identification number for individuals who do not have a driver’s license.
To schedule an appointment at one of the testing sites, visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call (877) 562-4850 if you do not have internet or are registering for a minor. Testing locations may be subject to change. Check the website address or call for the most up-to-date location information.
For additional questions, call the Hoke County Health Department at (910) 875-3717 for more information.