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Catawba County has five new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the county total to nine.

Two of the new cases are people who are close contacts of known cases, according to a release from Catawba County Public Health. Two of the newly identified cases are hospitalized, two are isolated at home and one has recovered.

Catawba County Public Health received the positive results overnight and started investigating immediately, according to the press release sent Thursday.

Health officials are working to find anyone who had close contact with confirmed coronavirus carriers, the release said. Close contact means being within six feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or more.

Those who had close contact may have regular temperature and symptom checks and could be quarantined or tested.

As of Thursday morning, there have been at least 400 people tested for COVID-19 in Catawba County and 112 negative results have been returned.

“With community transmission occurring throughout North Carolina, we anticipate our local case count will continue to rise,” Catawba County Health Director Jennifer McCracken said in the release.

The number of cases of COVID-19 statewide increased by more than 100 on Thursday.

There are at least 641 cases of coronavirus and one death in the state, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website. Another death was reported Wednesday of someone from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina when they were hospitalized.

Mecklenburg County reported the most cases with at least 181 confirmed coronavirus cases. The county is also one of several in the state to issue a stay-at-home order that started Thursday morning.

Burke County has one resident with coronavirus and tested a Mecklenburg resident who came back positive. Caldwell County has three cases.

At least 12,910 tests for coronavirus have been completed statewide and thousands are in the process of being done. The state lab did 1,134 of those tests and has resources for 1,200 more.

Thursday, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners canceled three upcoming meetings due to the coronavirus social distancing recommendations, Director of Communications and Marketing Amy McCauley said.

A full board of commissioners meeting scheduled for April 6 was canceled. Two subcommittee meetings scheduled for Monday, March 30, and Monday, April 13, are canceled. The board plans to reconvene for its April 20 meeting, McCauley said.

In an effort to limit person-to- person interaction and encourage social distancing, the Catawba County Department of Social Services is encouraging people applying for Medicaid and nutrition benefits to apply online, according to a release from the county. Applications for Food and Nutrition Services, food stamps, and medical assistance like Medicaid, NC Health Choice or Children's Health Insurance Program are available online at ePass.nc.gov.

Applications can also be requested by mail, e-mail or fax by calling 828-695-6326. A completed application can be mailed, emailed, faxed or dropped off to social services.

Applications for medical assistance programs can also be done over the phone at the same number.

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