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Positive cases of COVID-19 increased again in Burke County on Tuesday.

Burke County reported seven new cases, bringing its total to 211. As of Tuesday afternoon, the county was reporting that 95 of the positive cases have recovered.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said during a briefing that 11,000 of the positive cases in the state are estimated to be recovered from the virus.

Cohen said someone who has tested positive for the virus but did not have to be hospitalized it determined to be recovered after 14 days. However, she said some recoveries may take longer. For those who are hospitalized due to the virus, recoveries are estimated at 28 days, with some taking longer, Cohen said.

While a large number of cases have been reported at two nursing homes in Burke County, health officials say community spread is increasing.

The state has reported 369 deaths and 2,663 positive cases in nursing homes in North Carolina.

As of Tuesday, Grace Heights Health and Rehabilitation has a total of 85 cases, with 54 of those residents and 31 staff members and it has reported 12 deaths. Autumn Care of Drexel has a total of six cases, with four of those being residents and two staff members. It has reported one death associated with the virus, according to the latest figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The county’s reporting of cases is typically ahead of the state, with the state’s website updating cases once a day.

The state reported on Tuesday that Burke has 206 positive cases.

Of those, 181 are listed on the state’s zip code map for Morganton, which encompasses Glen Alpine and Drexel, as well as the Salem community, and the Nebo area has nine cases. The zip code map shows the Valdese area with seven cases; the Connelly Springs area with two; and Hildebran with four positive cases.

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.

The virus has now infiltrated all 100 counties in the state. Until Tuesday, neighboring Avery County had been virus-free but has now reported one positive case.

The state reported on Tuesday there have been 691 deaths in the state associated with the virus, 19,700 positive cases and 585 hospitalized due to COVID-19.

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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