Hoke tops 100 COVID-19 cases, as state lawmakers pass coronavirus relief bills

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke County is up to 103 known coronavirus cases, 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 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.

Recently identified cases

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 UNC REX Healthcare, 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 one in Hoke County has died of the virus. At least 430 people in all of North Carolina have died due 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.

More information

For more information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit the NCDHHS.gov website.

For more local information from Hoke County officials, visit www.readyhoke.org.

State legislators act: SB 704

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law today two bipartisan-supported bills meant to help the state deal with the pandemic.

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)

State legislators act: HB 1043

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