The cumulative number of total positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Halifax County have now surpassed 1,700.
This comes after the Halifax County Health Department today added 81 new positive cases to its data since its last report on Friday.
The total cumulative positives since testing began in March now stands at 1,719.
“To me it’s attributed to the fact it’s colder and people are gathering inside more,” health Director Bruce Robistow said. “In general it falls back to the failure to comply with the Three Ws — waiting 6-feet apart, wearing a facial covering, and handwashing — especially mask-wearing in public.”
With Thanksgiving 10 days away, Robistow said it is his recommendation to minimize public contact and keep gatherings as small as possible and, if possible, outside. “Avoid close contact with those at high risk such as the eldery and those with multiple comorbidities.”
There have been 32 related deaths with the following breakdown: 18 within the Roanoke Rapids area ZIP code; four within the Scotland Neck area ZIP code; three within the Enfield area ZIP code; three within the Weldon area ZIP code; two within the Littleton area ZIP code; one within the Halifax area ZIP code; and one within the Hollister area ZIP code.
According to a demographics chart on the state’s dashboard, 25 percent of the deaths in Halifax County have occurred within the 50 to 64 age bracket; 19 percent within the 65 to 74 age bracket; and 56 percent within the 75 and older age bracket.
More than half of the people who have died in Halifax County had underlying health conditions, the health department said last week.
Today’s graphical information continues to show a sustained increase in the trend of positive cases and an increase since Sunday.
Holiday-Black Friday guidelines
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released new guidance for Thanksgiving celebrations and Black Friday shopping to help North Carolinians gauge the risks, protect their friends and loved ones, and slow the spread of COVID-19.
"The best way to protect loved ones during Thanksgiving is to limit travel and gatherings with anyone who does not live in your household," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen. "If you do plan to get together, there are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to your family and friends."
Because North Carolina is experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases across the state, the department encourages caution when gathering for Thanksgiving.
Precautions are encouraged at gatherings which include people who are at a higher risk for developing COVID-19 complications such as anyone over the age of 65.
The state recommends if people do plan on traveling or gathering, they should consider having a screening COVID-19 test three to four days ahead of time. A screening test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not yet have symptoms.
However, a screening test can miss some infections. Furthermore, a negative test only gives you information for that point in time.
Screening tests are available at state-funded community testing events. Call ahead to other testing sites to see if they offer screening tests at their locations. Community testing events and other testing sites are listed online at this link.
"Consider getting a screening test ahead of your Thanksgiving travel or gathering. If you test positive, stay home and isolate. If you test negative, it’s not a free pass. Wear a mask and practice all 3Ws, including keeping 6-feet of distance from others and washing hands often," Cohen said.
People who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around a person with COVID-19, should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings until they complete their isolation or quarantine period.
The state also strongly recommends that individuals do not participate in any traditional Black Friday shopping where customers gather in large groups waiting for the store to open or are in crowded stores for extended times.
Any large gathering of people poses an increased risk for spreading COVID-19.
People at high risk for COVID-19 complications should limit in-person shopping.
And people who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, have COVID-19 like symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19, should not shop in person until their isolation or quarantine period is over.
Individuals who do shop in person should follow the Three Ws and remember stores are limited to 50 percent capacity.
On Friday the health department reported there were 704 total positive cases of which 603 have recovered. There were 76 active cases. There have been 25 related deaths.