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COVID-19 death toll rises locally

Eight additional residents of the Roanoke-Chowan area succumbed this week to COVID-19, raising the local death roll to 129.

Meanwhile, the number of positive cases locally continues to rise, following a trend seen statewide that has prompted health officials to issue dire warnings.

One-half of the local deaths this week have been in Northampton County.

Three were in Gates County, two of which were individuals over the age of 65 while the other was between the age range of 50-64. Two of these deaths are associated with the facility outbreak at Accordius Health and Rehabilitation where 66 individuals (48 residents; 18 staff members) have tested positive for the virus, five of which have died.

There was one death this week in Hertford County. This individual was over the age of 65 and related to the facility outbreak at Creekside Care and Rehabilitation in Ahoskie. The virus has claimed a total of 18 lives at that facility.

Since the outbreak began in March, there have been 49 COVID-related deaths in Northampton County; 43 in Hertford County; 26 in Bertie County; and 11 in Gates County.

As noted statewide, community spread of the virus has caused a spike in the number of confirmed cases. On Friday (Dec. 11), North Carolina shattered the single-day record for new COVID-19 cases where 7,540 were reported.

Over the past week there have been 258 newly diagnosed cases of the virus in the R-C area. Over one-third (97) of those cases have been in Hertford County. Bertie reported 78 new cases; Northampton had 48; and Gates County listed 35.

“Having more than 7,500 cases [in a single day] is staggering and alarming,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said in a press release sent Friday. “We are now seeing the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings.

“Do not wait until it is you or your loved one sick or alone in the hospital or you are facing the loss of a loved one to wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart, and wash your hands often. Act now. Please ask yourself what you can do to help slow the spread of this virus and save lives,” she added.

Cohen reminded all North Carolina citizens that a Modified Stay at Home Order went into effect on Dec. 11. This order, announced Wednesday by Gov. Roy Cooper, requires people to stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless their jobs require them to work those hours. Businesses, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses, most retail stores and more, will be required to close by 10 p.m. In addition, all onsite alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m.

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.

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