Local COVID-19 cases rise, none connected to George Floyd protests at this time

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Coronavirus cases in New Hanover County are continuing to rise as restrictions are lifted.

Last week, the county saw its largest single-day spike with 19 new cases reported in one day.

Health officials say the spike was initially expected because of expanded testing.

“But now I believe it’s attributable to the fact that we’re just interacting more, people are not staying home like they were before,” Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown said. “So it’s expected, but it’s definitely become much steeper and much faster than we would like to see in public health.”

As George Floyd protests continue in the county, some wonder if the virus is spreading there.

When tested for COVID-19, officials perform “contact tracing.” Asking questions about where you have been, including if you have attended any mass gatherings.

And as of right now, no cases are connected to the protests.

“But it’s also important to understand there’s some limitations to what we know,” Brown said. “So we’re only going to know what somebody is willing to share with us.”

Brown says it also depends on whether health departments in other counties notify them if a resident tests positive who has attended a protest.

She emphasizes the importance of being honest when being test for COVID-19 so others may be notified if they have been exposed.

For those attending protests, she says it’s important to continue taking precautions.

“People are yelling, they’re causing those droplets to go out. So wearing that face covering is still highly recommended.”

She also suggests trying to socially distance and bring hand sanitizer to protests, as frequent hand washing would not be likely.

And keep in mind how you are getting to the mass gatherings.

“It’s harder for the virus to spread when we’re outside as opposed to indoors, but did you go to that gathering by riding with 3 or 4 people in a vehicle together in a confined space for 15 minutes and were you not wearing masks?” Brown said.

Brown says if you are feeling sick do not attend any mass gathering.

Do not risk spreading the virus and getting others potentially very sick.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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