MOORESVILLE, NC — Iredell County confirmed 409 COVID-19 cases Friday, an increase of 27 cases in the county since Thursday. The development comes as North Carolina reported another record-setting day with 1,768 new COVID-19 confirmations, increasing the state's tally to more than 41,000 cases.
"The high number of new cases is not just related to more testing," Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Friday. "These numbers show that the disease is spreading and more people need hospital care. This has to be taken seriously."
On May 22, North Carolina moved into "Phase 2" of easing restrictions meant to slow the spread of coronavirus, which is set to expire June 26. Since that time, health officials are seeing an increase in community spread as residents in the area become more lax with restrictions.
The timing of recent increases is linked to recent relaxation of coronavirus restrictions, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said Friday.
"It's the pace of the increase that's concerning," Cohen said, adding that North Carolina's percent of positive cases is among the highest in the nation.
As of Friday, 10 percent of all tests in North Carolina were positive. By comparison, the World Health Organization recommends that governments have a percent positive rate of 5 percent or lower for at least 14 days before reopening.
North Carolina was one of 18 states identified as having a higher than recommended positivity rate and in need of increased COVID-19 testing capacity, Johns Hopkins University said.
"If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities," Johns Hopkins University said. "A low rate of positivity in testing data can be seen as a sign that a state has sufficient testing capacity for the size of their outbreak and is testing enough of its population to make informed decisions about reopening."
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Iredell County health officials are grouping cases into three regions of the county: North, Central and South. Here's a breakdown of where cases have been confirmed as of 4 p.m. June 12:
North Region (zip codes 27020, 27028, 27055, 28625, 28634, 28636, 28660, 28689 and 28678)
- 101 cases (up from 73 cases reported June 5)
Central Region (zip codes 27013, 28166, 28677)
- 160 cases (up from 119 cases reported June 5)
South Region (zip codes 28036, 28115, 28117, 28125)
- 148 cases (up from 135 cases reported June 5)
A cluster of five COVID-19 cases was confirmed at North Iredell High School in Olin, county health officials said Thursday. The Iredell County Health Department said it received confirmation of the cluster, which is defined as at least five cases, June 11, one day after the positive cases were reported by Iredell-Statesville Schools.
The five people who tested positive are staff at the school, a health department spokesperson told Patch.
"At this time, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services considers five or more cases in a school or child-care facility to be a cluster," ICHD said in a statement. "NCDHHS refers to this as a 'cluster' rather than an 'outbreak' because of the setting, as it is difficult to accurately determine how transmission occurred and whether it occurred within the setting or from within the broader community. "
The health department said it was working closely with the school district to monitor the situation and conduct contact tracing to identify those who may have come in contact with those infected.
The county's COVID-19 count includes a confirmed outbreak at The Citadel nursing home in Mooresville, where one staff member and one resident have tested positive. Health officials consider two or more cases at congregate living facilities, such as a nursing home or jail, to be an outbreak. As of Friday, state public health officials confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in 101 nursing homes, 54 residential care facilities and 19 correctional facilities.
About 8 percent of the county's confirmed cases were children under 17 years of age, ICHD data indicated Friday. Most of the cases — about 43 percent — were of residents who were 25 to 49 years old.
The county's COVID-19 case tally is cumulative and, as of June 12, included an estimated 228 cases that are assumed recovered, while at least 169 residents continued to self-isolate in their homes, according to the health department. Six county residents were hospitalized for coronavirus-related illness.
Six Iredell County residents have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since collection of data related to the outbreak began in March.
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