Thirteen new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported today by the Halifax County Health Department.
Today’s data brings the total number of cumulative positive cases since testing began to 977 and shows an increase in the trend since Monday’s report.
There have been 18 related deaths — 14 within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code; two within the Weldon area ZIP code; one within the Enfield area ZIP code; and one within the Scotland Neck area ZIP code.
Today’s report is the first since September 8 to note an increase in the trend.
“There’s need for a continual cause for alarm until we have secured a vaccine,” Health Director Bruce Robistow said this afternoon. “A decrease in numbers does not indicate that it’s going away. COVID-19 remains a very dangerous, ever-present threat in our community.”
Data on recoveries and current cases is expected to be included in Wednesday’s report.
The health department reported Monday there were 456 total positive cases of which 397 have recovered. There have been 17 related deaths.
As of Monday there were 42 active cases.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called SlowCOVIDNC.
The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, NCDHHS said in a statement today.
It is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data.
SlowCOVIDNC, which leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System, alerts users who have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. It is voluntary to download and use and designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts.
“With SlowCOVIDNC App, North Carolinians have another powerful tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 right in their pockets. Downloading SlowCOVIDNC is a practical step each of us can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our state,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen.
The app, once downloaded, works in the following way once Bluetooth is enabled and exposure notifications are turned on:
After opting-in to receive notifications, the app will generate an anonymous token for the device. A token is a string of random letters which changes every 10-20 minutes and is never linked to identity or location. This protects app user privacy and security.
Through Bluetooth, phones with the SlowCOVIDNC app work in the background to exchange these anonymous tokens every few minutes. Phones record how long they are near each other and the Bluetooth signal strength of their exchanges in order to estimate distance.
If an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may obtain a unique PIN to submit in the app. This voluntary and anonymous reporting notifies others who have downloaded the app that they may have been in close contact with someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive.
PINs will be provided to app users who receive a positive COVID-19 test result through a web-based PIN Portal, by contacting the Community Care of North Carolina call center, or by contacting their local health department.
SlowCOVIDNC periodically downloads tokens from the server from the devices of users who have anonymously reported a positive test. Phones then use records of the signal strength and duration of exposures with those tokens to calculate risk and determine if an app user has met a threshold to receive an exposure notification.
NCDHHS is partnering with institutions of higher education, local businesses and influential North Carolinians to promote SlowCOVIDNC and educate the public about how widespread use of the app can slow the spread of COVID-19.