• 68°

COVID-19 cases climb in Bertie

Bertie County appears to be the new “hot spot” locally for confirmed COVID-19 cases.

As of Friday, May 15, Bertie’s numbers had climbed to 74 cases, an increase of 16 over a period of seven days.

“We can confirm that the increases we have seen this week in particular are unrelated to the prison, Perdue, nursing homes, or other major employers,” said an update posted Friday on the county’s Facebook page. “That being said, community spread (person to person contact) appears to be the only other viable reason behind the steady increase in our active cases.”

The county was showing 26 active cases and 45 recoveries as of Friday. A trio of Bertie residents have died from the virus.

“Our active case count (those currently sick/working to recover from COVID-19) now, today, is higher than it has ever been since this pandemic began,” the Facebook post added. “It is safe to assume that these active cases are a mix of symptomatic and asymptomatic occurrences of lab confirmed, COVID-19 positive patients.”

Bertie local government officials stressed that 35 percent of the county’s population is considered high risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 and similar illnesses. That percentage includes individuals that are ages 65+ with disabilities and/or who have pre-existing health conditions.

According to the latest numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Northampton County has 129 cases (with 78 listed as recovered); Hertford County has 50 cases (32 recovered); and Gates County has 13 cases (7 recovered).

NCDHHS also reported there are 42 confirmed cases at Rivers Correctional Institution, a privately operated prison near Winton. That marks an increase of three cases since May 8. Of the 42 cases, 22 are staff and 20 are inmates.

By local zip code (with five or more cases):

Ahoskie – 23 (1 death)

Aulander – 10

Colerain – 16

Conway – 12 (1 death)

Garysburg – 6

Gaston – 19

Gates – 5

Murfreesboro – 8 (1 death)

Rich Square – 44 (7 deaths)

Seaboard – 5

Windsor – 39 (1 death)

Winton – 23

Woodland – 28 (1 death)

“While there is much to learn about COVID-19, we do know this novel virus will be with us for the months and years to come,” stated R. Battle Betts Jt., Health Director for Albemarle Regional Health. ‘Data-driven insights about the spread of COVID-19 provides us with important information as we continue to monitor the virus across the region This data will be crucial to understanding the spread of the virus and how it is impacting our population.

“While we do not want anyone to be fearful of the virus, we do want everyone in our community to take it seriously and understand how it can impact them and their loved ones,” Betts added.

NCDHHS reported that as of 11 a.m. on Friday (May 15), there are 17,129 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 641 deaths statewide. The report included the number of patients (492) currently hospitalized with the virus. Of that total, 61 are in hospitals owned and operated by Vidant Health.

Those between the ages of 25-to-49 represent the highest percentage (43%) of lab-confirmed cases in the state. But that age group only lists three percent of the statewide deaths. That latter stat is led by those ages 65-and-over (85%).

Breaking it down by race, whites top the number of statewide cases (6,909 or 54%) and deaths (357, representing 59%). Black/African American show 4,266 cases (33%) and 215 deaths (36%). Hispanics show 3,492 cases and 27 deaths while American Indians have seen 129 cases and only one death.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal