Statewide trend less encouraging
Swain County added seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the previous week. The increase represents a steady rise of around 10 or less each week since restrictions were lifted at the end of May.
There have been a total of 1,601 tests completed in Swain County as of Tuesday, June 16 with 1,345 negative results, 40 positive and 216 still pending. It takes 3-5 days for results.
Broken down by zip code, there are 32 cases in Cherokee, six in Bryson City, two in Whittier.
According to Health Director Alison Cochran, the confirmed cases in the county have primarily been symptomatic or close contacts. It’s worth noting the numbers are an ongoing total. She added cases can assume to be recovered after 14 days.
“Maintaining social distance between yourself and others is the best way to prevent transmission,” Cochran said.
Statewide cases widen
North Carolina has nearly 46,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Tuesday. Statewide there have been more than 650,000 tests completed. There have been 1,154 deaths in the state and there are currently 829 people hospitalized for coronavirus. The number of new daily cases saw a spike on Friday, June 12. However, the 7-day rolling average is climbing at a steadier rate.
Governor Roy Cooper and NC Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen are hopeful that more restrictions can be lifted next week if people heed the guidance to help stop the spread of the disease. On Monday, in a news brief, Cohen encouraged people to get tested. Anyone who has been exposed to someone confirmed to have the virus, those who live or work in high risk settings and those who have attended a big gathering including mass protests should get tested for COVID-19.
She urged people to follow the 3 Ws: wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands frequently. “It’s the combination of these three actions that keeps us safe,” Cohen said.
She also reminded people to go online to https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing and the “Check My Symptoms” link.
She also reminded restaurants, hoteliers and other business owners of the Count On Me NC program (Countonmenc.org) where they can access training to keep their business safer in light of the health pandemic. Guests can also take a pledge on the site.
From the start, she said, health officials knew dining out would be a risky activity, but she encouraged everyone to do their part to keep it safe and stressed that social distancing, even at restaurants that become bars in the evening, is still important no matter what time of day it is.
North Carolina is still in Phase 2 “Safer at Home,” which began May 22. Some are concerned with the rise in cases, plans to lift more restrictions may go into reverse.
The numbers aren’t trending in the right direction, Gov. Cooper said, but as to whether things will open up more or restrictions will be in effect, he indicated that it might move in the direction of fewer restrictions. This would be considered a Phase 2.5 that could reopen bars, gyms and other locations that have remained closed.
“Let’s press to make sure we can flatten this curve,” he said.
The three goals involve making sure treatment is available to those who get sick, to slow the spread and to cushion the blow to the economy, he said. “We’ll always do what’s best for the health and safety of North Carolinians.”