2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Burke County reported its highest one-day number of positive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday just as additional businesses plan to reopen on Friday.

The Burke County Health Department reported a total of 251 positive cases of the virus, up 33 cases from Wednesday’s total of 218 cases.

Rebecca McLeod, director of the Burke County Health Department, said the rise in cases is due to community spread and more testing. A release from Burke County said people who are positive for the virus within the community are both symptomatic and asymptomatic.

“Now is not the time to go to doing activities and spending time as you did before,” the release said.

The county says those who are at high-risk for infection should continue to stay at home.

People should continue to wear face masks or covering, distance themselves from others at least 6 feet apart and wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, according to county and state health officials.

According to the county’s dashboard from its Wednesday update, a total of 1,358 tests have been conducted in the county. The total tests conducted include those given by private providers and the hospital, McLeod said.

The dashboard also says 96 people so far have recovered from the virus, and 14 have died in the county.

The state is reporting that 290,645 tests for the virus have been conducted across North Carolina. The state reported on Thursday there now have been 716 deaths and 20,910 positive cases, with 578 people hospitalized. As of Monday, the state reported that 11,637 people are presumed to be recovered from the virus.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also reported the first case in the state of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. A release from the state said while children generally experience mild symptoms with COVID-19, recently a possible link has been found between COVID-19 and the serious inflammatory disease in some children and teenagers who have current or recent infections. The first reports of the syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April. Cases in the United States were first reported in New York City in early May, according to the release.

The release said most children with MIS-C have fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees) lasting several days, along with other symptoms. Other common symptoms include:

» Irritability or decreased activity.

» Abdominal pain without another explanation.

» Diarrhea.

» Vomiting

» Rash.

» Conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes).

» Poor feeding.

» Red, cracked lips or red, bumpy tongue that looks like a strawberry.

» Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red.

The state says parents who see symptoms and a persistent fever should call their child’s doctor immediately. The doctor will ask about the child’s symptoms and use that information to recommend next steps, the release said. If the child is severely ill, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately, it said.

As more businesses are expected to open Friday, questions about what is expected arose during a state briefing Thursday.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, was asked during the briefing what is required by patrons as more businesses are expected to open Friday.

Cohen said face coverings for patrons are not required but is strongly recommended. She said employees at tattoo shops and personal care business are required to wear face coverings and customers are strongly recommended to wear them when visiting those types of businesses.

Sharon McBrayer can be reached at smcbrayer@morganton.com or at 828-432-8946.

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