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Increased testing has resulted in a “substantial increase” in the number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus, the Halifax County Health Department reported late Friday night.

The regular weekday update was delayed Friday afternoon.

Halifax County Health Department Director Bruce Robistow said in the update the department is aware of 2,981 confirmed tests performed on residents with the following breakdown:

545 positive cases since testing began; six related deaths; and 315 recoveries.

The approximate number of current cases can be calculated by subtracting the recoveries from the positives.

There are 59 tests pending and 2,377 known negative results.

Four of the related deaths have been in the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code and one in the Weldon area ZIP code. The sixth death has not yet been entered into the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services database.

“This report shows a substantial increase in cases over the last several days as a result of increased testing in our county,” Robistow said in the report.

The increased testing has pushed the trend line upward, he said.

The percent of positive cases compared to the volume of testing over a week is at 18.3 percent, which is consistent with the previous week’s percentage. “Although there is more testing being done, we are consistently seeing a high percentage of positive results,” Robistow said. “This graph remains a strong indicator that we need to continue practicing the three Ws and following the executive orders.”

He said following the three Ws — waiting six feet apart; wearing a facial covering; and washing and disinfecting hands frequently — “can make a huge difference in your health and the health of others. Improving your compliance with the three Ws now will both better educate children as to how to practice them and also provide a safer community for when school starts. Please take this opportunity to protect our children and each other very seriously.”

Northampton County

The health department reported Friday there were 288 total positive cases of which 222 have recovered. There have been 16 deaths.