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Five new cases of COVID-19 identified in Catawba County (9 total)

HICKORY, NC (March 26, 2020 at 11:13am) — Five new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Catawba County, bringing the county’s current total of cases to nine. Catawba County Public Health received the positive test results overnight and immediately began investigating.

Two people are close contacts of known cases. Two are hospitalized, two are isolated at home, and one has recovered.

Public Health is working to identify close contacts who may be affected and is advising them on appropriate monitoring and testing on a case-by-case basis. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or longer, according to the CDC.

Public Health is assessing the risk of exposure to others and will determine which, if any, additional protective measures are needed. Protective measures may include temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

As of 10:30 a.m., there have been 400 people tested for COVID-19 in Catawba County and 112 negative results have been received. The remaining test results are pending. There have been no deaths associated with COVID-19 reported in Catawba County.

“With community transmission occurring throughout North Carolina, we anticipate our local case count will continue to rise,” said Jennifer McCracken, Catawba County Health Director. “We know residents may become more concerned for their health and the health of their loved ones. Taking prevention measures seriously is the most important step we can all take toward protecting our health and preventing the spread of illness. It is more important than ever for all of us to do everything we can to limit contact with others and follow all prevention guidelines.

“As we continue our work of investigating cases and implementing protective measures for affected individuals, we will be focusing our communications efforts on providing the most current preventive information and guidance to residents and organizations in the community,” McCracken added.

Catawba County Public Health will update local testing and case numbers on the Catawba County website, www.catawbacountync.gov, on a daily basis.

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, residents should take the following steps to prevent the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19:

  • Clean your hands often.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk for experiencing severe illness. The CDC has expanded its definition of high-risk to include the following:
    • People aged 65 years and older
    • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have heart disease with complications
    • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
    • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease
  • Stay home if you’re sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks at least once daily.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Individuals experiencing these symptoms are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider immediately.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. For more information, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will also include information about future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina. If you have questions regarding COVID-19, call 1-866-462-3821 or NC 2-1-1.

Catawba County Public Health promotes and protects the health of all Catawba County residents through preventive services, innovative partnerships, and community health improvement initiatives. For more information, please call (828) 695-5800 or visit www.catawbacountync.gov/phealth.