Health Department monitors schools

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By Catharin Shepard •

Staff writer •


With schools back in session on a hybrid schedule, the Health Department is working with the school system to monitor students and teachers’ health. While some surrounding counties – and major colleges and universities in North Carolina – have identified clusters of coronavirus on campus, as of Tuesday there hadn’t been any cases identified at Hoke County Schools.

“We have been working with the Hoke County schools throughout the summer to prepare in-person instruction. We are testing any symptomatic persons from the schools, and to date all test results have been negative,” Health Director Helene Edwards said in an email. “COVID-19 monitoring is occurring daily between the schools and public health.”

The Health Department does receive positive test results of college and university students who have permanent addresses in Hoke County, the Health Director said.

“Hoke County has had only two positive cases from the universities,” she wrote.

Hoke County has seen more than 850 total known cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Hoke County Health Department.

As of Tuesday, there were 858 total known cases of coronavirus identified in Hoke County, Edwards reported. The Health Department is currently working on 60 active COVID-19 cases, conducting contact tracing and monitoring the status of the patients.

So far 12 people from Hoke County, and more than 2,500 people across the state have died due to coronavirus-related causes, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. At least 35 people from Hoke have been hospitalized with the virus at some point during the pandemic.

The majority of people in Hoke County who have tested positive for the virus have since recovered.

The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina recently wrapped up a free mass testing effort held in counties across the southeastern part of the state. State health officials are also helping coordinate other free mass testing sites in poor and rural areas. However, none of those mass testing sites are planned for Hoke County at this time.

However, the Hoke County Health Department is looking toward the fall and the approaching flu season. The department is also checking up on students’ records to make sure school-age children have received their legally required vaccinations.

“We are planning for mass flu shot clinics as well as assuring school-age immunizations are given prior to deadline of November 1, 2020,” Edwards wrote.

For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov or readyhoke.org.

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