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Burke County positive cases of COVID-19 continues to rise.

And the county released information on an antibody testing site.

The health department reported nine new positive cases on Monday, bringing the total to 203. The county reported 194 cases on Saturday.

The state reported an increase of nearly 2,000 from Friday to Monday morning.

Local and state officials have said as more testing is done there likely will be more positive cases of the novel virus.

Burke County reported new testing criteria from the state and new antibody testing sites in the county on Monday.

The updated criteria for people to be tested are:

» Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19

» Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms

» Regardless of symptoms, anyone at higher risk of exposure or at a higher risk for severe disease.

Such patient populations are:

» People who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp, etc.)

» People who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions and those with weakened immune systems from other conditions such as receiving cancer treatments, those living with HIV, etc.)

» Those who come from historically marginalized populations.

» Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)

» Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Information from Burke County said those who are tested are required to self-isolate (stay at home and do not go out for any reason) at home until their test results return, which could be two to four days, depending on the company doing the testing. Those tested also have to self-isolate from others within their home until test results come back so the virus is not spread within the home.

In addition to testing for COVID-19, antibody testing is available in Burke County.

On Friday, Solid Rock Family Medicine, in conjunction with Quest Diagnostics, will conduct drive-thru COVID-19 antibody testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone who wants it. The antibody testing is FDA/EUA approved, according to the county.

The test will go to Quest Diagnostics to be conducted. Quest is in charge of all the billing for the antibody testing, and county health officials have been told that Quest will hold all bills until the government pays since folks are supposed be covered.

COVID-19 testing and antibody testing also will take place at Solid Rock Family Medicine on May 29, and June 5 , for anyone who is symptomatic, a known contact of someone who has tested positive or a high-risk patient, according to information from the county.

Results from testing could take three to five days.

Between Friday and Monday, positive cases in the state went up by 1,894, according to figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said testing in the state continues to ramp up and with that it’s important to remember people will likely see an increase in positive cases.

But with more movement of people, there’s also more chance for the virus to spread, she said. That’s why it’s important for people to wear a cloth face covering, wait 6 feet apart and wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

As the proposed date for Phase 2 of the state reopening approaches, Gov. Roy Cooper was asked during a Monday briefing about when he will let people know what will be included in the phase. Cooper said he’s hoping they can move into Phase 2 but they need to look at a few more days of data. He hopes to let people know something about it toward the middle of the week.

Cooper said he knows economic prosperity is important but public safety is the No. 1 priority.

Cooper also was asked about barbershops and hair salons and whether those would be included in Phase 2.

Cooper said barbershops and hair salons have been closed because of the inability for social distancing in the businesses.

He said now that there is more protective equipment available, salons and barbershops could be included in Phase 2. However, he said if they reopen both customers and the services both have a real responsibility to protect each other and each other’s families.

During the briefing, a reporter told Cooper and Cohen there are people holding parties where people are actively trying to get COVID-19 to try to create herd immunity, which is a buildup of immunity within a population.

Cohen said the state is nowhere near herd immunity.

Cooper said that action is completely irresponsible.

“If you do that you could easily kill someone you love,” Cooper said.

Also on Monday, NCDHHS announced all long-term care facilities in the state will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) packs of needed supplies, and facilities will receive a limited increased rate for some Medicaid services to support infection prevention and management. Burke County has outbreaks of COVID-19 at two nursing homes.

PPE packs will go to more than 3,000 state-licensed long-term care facilities and include a 14-day supply of face shields, procedure masks, gloves and shoe covers. Adult care homes, family care homes, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health facilities will receive supplies, the state said.

NCDHHS is partnering with North Carolina Emergency Management and the National Guard to deliver the packs at local distribution centers, according to the announcement.

For general questions about COVID-19, contact the Burke County public Information line at 828-764-9388 or visit the COVID-19 webpage at www.burkenc.org/COVID-19.

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