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Health officials were notified on Friday that two more people in Burke County have tested positive for COVID-19.

Burke County Health Director Rebecca McLeod was notified by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge of one of the positive COVID-19 cases, who is currently hospitalized.

Then late Friday night, the health department was notified of another positive case of the virus, said Lisa Moore, public information officer for Burke County.

The patients acquired the infection from traveling, so the cases are not a community-spread, according to the health department.

Public Health has started its investigation and will be locating close contacts of the patients to help contain the spread of the infection, according to a release from the county.

Burke County reported its first two cases on Tuesday evening. The two people know each other and are in isolation in the county but one of them is from Mecklenburg County, so is being counted there, say health officials.

Burke County said Friday it continues to test daily and has tested around 83 people through the state lab and Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, with 67 being negative. Three Burke County residents have tested positive and one person tested positive in the county but is being reported in the numbers for Mecklenburg County. The positive cases in the county, so far, have been travel-related, according to health officials.

When someone is tested for the virus they are told to isolate themselves, according to county health officials.

As of Saturday, Catawba County reported it now has a total of 12 positive cases of COVID-19. Catawba County Public Health reported there have been 483 people tested for COVID-19 in Catawba County and 171 negative results have been received, according to the Hickory Daily Record.

Caldwell County reported three positive cases of the virus, with 432 tested and 122 negative tests for COVID-19 have been reported, according to information from the county.

And the McDowell County Health Department was notified Friday by the North Carolina State Lab that two additional McDowell County residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. These cases are linked to contact with an out-of-state traveler. Those who tested positive are in isolation, according to The McDowell News.

That brings the local total in McDowell to five, the newspaper said.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Saturday state cases of the illness are at 935 with four deaths. Hospitalizations increased to 87 from 77 on Friday, data show. On Thursday, national health officials said the U.S. has now reported the highest number of positive cases in the world since the pandemic started, including China, where COVID-19 was first identified.

The CDC is now recommending that people who think they might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms to stay home and call their doctor for medical advice.

Burke County Public Health officials said it will not be releasing any other information on those who test positive for the virus that may compromise their confidentiality.

A release from Burke County said it’s important for those who are sick with COVID-19 or any other infectious disease to isolate themselves at home until they are symptom-free.

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

“Your role as a community, is to stay as calm as possible, check in on your family, friends and neighbors and help out as you can by dropping off food, calling to talk and stay connected, and continue to help support local businesses by getting take-out meals or ordering delivery,” said a release from Burke County.

County officials also are urging people to reduce or cancel travelling out of the state and to hotspots for the virus within North Carolina.

“We all must work together for the true benefit of the community,” the release said.

The Burke County release said the most important messages right now is:

» Stay at home as much as possible but you can still pick up essential items and then return home.

» Go outside some and get some exercise, play with your children but do not gather with large groups of 10 or more people

» Wash your hands often, especially after going to stores or touching objects or surfaces that others have touched. Wash for 20 seconds and sing a song while you wash. Use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water.

Those who have questions or need additional information can contact the Burke County Public Information Line at 828-764-9388, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After hours, general questions can be directed to the NC Public Information Line at 1-866-462-3821. The operator will answer your questions or direct you to the correct person to answer your questions.

Residents also can visit the Burke County COVID-19 webpage at People having a medical emergency should call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher that you have symptoms listed for COVID-19.

Starting Monday at 11 a.m., the eight-school drive-through sites will open and the Burke County Public Schools buses will roll to their scheduled stops.

The school system has added 10 buses, for a total of 27 buses making nearly 90 stops to deliver food to children 18 and younger.

The eight school sites are: Table Rock Middle School, 1585 NC 126 ; Liberty Middle School, 529 Enola Road; Mountain View Elementary School, 805 Bouchelle St.; Hillcrest Elementary School, 201 Tennessee St.; Valdese Elementary School, 298 Praley St. NW; East Burke Middle School, 3519 Miller Bridge Road; Ray Childers Elementary School, 1183 Cape Hickory Road; and George Hildebrand Elementary, 8078 George Hildebrand School Road.

The Burke County Health Department and County Emergency Management will keep the public informed by announcing any additional cases that may arise through its local media partners.​

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