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Bertie County resident succumbs to COVID-19

COVID-19 has claimed its first local victim.

On Wednesday, Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) received notification from one of it hospital partners confirming the first death associated with COVID-19 in Bertie County.

The individual was older than 65 and succumbed to complications associated with the virus. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about this patient will be released.

“It is with deep regret that we make this announcement and we extend our sincere condolences to the individual’s family and friends,” states R. Battle Betts Jr., ARHS Health Director. “As we reflect on this tragedy, let us remain vigilant in the daily steps crucial to keep us all safe, especially handwashing, sanitation, and social distancing.”

As of 4:15 p.m. on Friday, only Northampton County had reported an increase in the number of confirmed local cases of COVID-19. At that time there were 38 confirmed positive cases in Northampton, up from 33 as of Wednesday, April 1.

Northampton health officials said each of the five news cases are in isolation. They added that four previous cases have been deemed recovered.

A statement on the Northampton Health Department’s Facebook page said, “further testing has been done and individual results are pending,”

Twenty-eight of the Northampton cases are linked to one facility. The first of those cases at that facility was reported on March 22, and peaked with 20 more cases on March 28.

There are six confirmed cases in Bertie County and four in Hertford County, as of reports received on April 3.

On Wednesday, ARHS confirmed the first COVID-19 cases in Gates and Chowan counties. Both of those individuals are in isolation.

ARHS is following North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) guidelines on contact tracing of all individuals who may have had close contact with the case. Close contacts are defined as having direct contact with, or been within six feet for at least 10 minutes, of a case-patient while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment. Caregivers and household members of the case-patient are considered close contacts.

“COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning it is new, not everything is known about how the virus works. It is possible there are individuals, who have the virus and are spreading it, yet have no symptoms,” states ARHS Health Director R. Battle Betts, Jr. “The CDC has reported as many as 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 may not show symptoms. Therefore, public health interventions such as social distancing will continue to be an important tool to reduce transmission and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Statewide, NC DHHS reported 2,093 COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths as of 11:25 a.m. on Friday. At that time, nearly 31,600 tests for the virus had been completed.