NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Public Health officials were notified today of two additional deaths from COVID-19 in New Hanover County, bringing the total number of deaths of New Hanover County residents to seven.
Both individuals were hospitalized; one person was in their 60’s and the other in their 80’s. Both were considered at high risk of severe illness because they had underlying medical conditions. To protect the privacy of these individuals and their families, no other information will be shared.
“I am so saddened to hear of the loss of two more of our residents, and I extend my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of these residents,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “The virus didn’t only effect these individuals, but their family, friends, neighbors and community, who never expected this tragic outcome. COVID-19 is spreading in our community, and it takes each of us individually to protect those around us. I urge our residents to follow the three W’s – wear a face covering, wait six feet from others and wash your hands frequently. It’s simple, but it will save lives.”
The cumulative number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 Tuesday, and Wednesday is at 1,068. Cases among people under the age of 49 are increasing, as well as cases in the LatinX community. Additionally, hospitalizations are rising, with 33 people hospitalized at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Wednesday. (Data reported from NHRMC is for a seven county region, and not specific to New Hanover County residents). Health officials continue to conduct contact tracing to contain the spread of the virus.
“It is heartbreaking to receive notification of two more New Hanover County residents passing away from COVID-19, especially knowing that simple actions, if taken by everyone, can prevent the spread of the virus and protect those at risk of severe illness, and my sincere sympathy goes to the friends and family of these individuals,” said Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “COVID-19 cases in the area continue to rise with increased activity and lack of adherence to social distancing and face covering measures. Following the three W’s are vital to maintaining activity and slowing the spread. Another way individuals can help is to answer the call and participate in contact tracing if you hear from our public health team. This helps us identify a source of exposure and have individuals take action to get tested, isolate, and keep the virus from affecting the next person. If we all work together in these ways, we can continue reopening and activity in the safest way possible.”
Everyone can be part of the solution of slowing the spread and containing COVID-19 by answering the call if/when a COVID-19 Community Team member reaches out for contact tracing. Contact tracing is the public health practice of identifying people who may have come into contact with someone infected with a communicable disease like measles, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted illnesses and COVID-19. Contact tracers reach out to individuals confirmed to have COVID-19 and help them recall everywhere they have been and with whom they came into contact from 48 hours before symptom onset to the time they got their test results. Then, they call those identified as close contacts – those who had been within six feet for 10 or more minutes. Without sharing identifiable information about the person who has COVID-19, close contacts are informed they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to monitor for symptoms and self-quarantine for 14 days. Close contacts are also eligible for diagnostic testing if they choose.
It’s important to work with those conducting contact tracing to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19, connect those eligible to testing, and protect others in the community. Learn more about contact tracing and Answering the Call at NCDHHS.gov.
As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, there have been 1,068 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County. For updates and resources related to the COVID-19 virus in New Hanover County, visit Health.NHCgov.com, call our Public Health Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800, and follow the county’s trusted social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor.