By Catharin Shepard •
Staff writer •
Hoke County was expected to hit a level of more than 1,000 coronavirus cases this week, six months after health officials identified the first known local case.
Hoke had a total of 997 people test positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
More than 800 of those people have since recovered from the illness. Some people who tested positive did not report any symptoms, and were considered asymptomatic carriers.
As of Tuesday, North Carolina had seen more than 186,000 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March. More than 3,100 people across the state have died of COVID-19 related causes. Most of the others have since recovered, according to state data.
So far, 13 people with permanent addresses in Hoke County have died after testing positive for the contagious illness. The county saw one death in May, two deaths in June, five deaths in July and five deaths in August.
Most of the deaths occurred at FirstHealth of the Carolinas, with one death occurring at Cape Fear Valley Health System and one death at UNC Hospitals. Seven of the deceased were male, and six were female. The deceased included five white people, three Hispanic people, three African-American people, one Native American person and one person of unknown race, according to reports from health officials.
Health officials have so far not reported any COVID-19 related deaths in Hoke County in the month of September.
Hoke County has not seen any further identified outbreaks in nursing facilities, and as of Tuesday had not identified any clusters of the virus in Hoke County Schools.
The Hoke County Health Department is working closely with the public schools as they continue on a schedule of two days a week of in-person instruction, and three days a week of online instruction for families who opted to have their children return to face-to-face classes. About half of all students attending Hoke County Schools opted to learn entirely from home for the fall semester.
The number of hospitalizations across North Carolina has gone down in recent weeks, according to state health officials. The number of lab-confirmed tests, and the percent of tests returning positive are both considered stable, though officials want to see the numbers trend downward. The state is now in “Phase 2.5” of reopening.
State health officials continue to urge residents to continue to practice good hand washing, wear a face covering in public and wait six feet apart from others in public places.
For more information on COVID-19 and for a list of available testing sites, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov.