Wake, Durham counties announce 16 new COVID-19 cases, bringing state’s tally to at least 82

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham County health officials announced Wednesday evening 11 new coronavirus cases linked to the group of Duke University students who traveled internationally, a news release said. That brings our sister station CBS 17’s count to at least 82 in the state.

Durham County officials on Tuesday had said 15 members of the Duke community tested positive. Wednesday’s 11 new cases came not long after Wake County announced five new presumptive positive results.

Durham County’s 23 cases are the most in the state. Wake County has 22.

Wake County health officials are working to confirm who may have come in close contact with the five new patients. Durham County officials said their newest patients are isolated at home.

“Close contact” is defined as being within six feet of a person for 10 minutes or longer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We aren’t surprised that the number of positive test results in Wake County is increasing,” Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald said in a news release. “While it’s important to track the data, it’s even more important to reinforce the social distancing message. By doing things like working from home and staying six feet away from others while running necessary errands, we can slow the spread of this virus.”

“Both the Durham County Department of Public Health and Duke University want to assure the Durham community that every step is being taken to provide guidance to any individuals in Durham county who may have been exposed to COVID-19,” the Durham County press release said.

The state said earlier Wednesday that 1,850 tests have been completed by the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health and reporting hospital and commercial laboratories.

Testing is becoming more widely available in North Carolina as UNC Medical Center has begun COVID-19 testing for their patients.

“The ability to conduct in-house testing is a crucial step in our response to COVID-19,” Dr. Wesley Burks, UNC Health CEO and Medical School Dean said. “Our ability to test patients and receive results in a matter of hours will help us to better understand the spread of the virus in our state and, most importantly, allow us to quickly move to treat positive patients and provide relief to patients who test negative.”

Private labs, such as LabCorp, are also testing for the virus.

The virus is now in all 50 states after West Virginia reported its first case on Tuesday, according to the CDC. Puerto Rico, Guam and the District of Columbia are also reporting cases.

Johns Hopkins University is reporting the U.S. currently has 6,519 cases with 115 deaths being blamed on the virus.

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