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RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on May 11 introduced a new weekly estimate of people in the state who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus.

The department estimated that 9,115 have recovered from the virus in the state. As of May 11 at 3:15 p.m., a total of 15,194 cases have been confirmed by labs in North Carolina, and 568 people have died with the virus, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. NCDHHS reported at 10:30 a.m. May 11 that 464 people were hospitalized with the virus statewide.

The department stated that it is providing estimates of the number of people who have recovered in the state because "patient-specific data on the actual time to resolution of all symptoms are not available for all COVID-19 cases in North Carolina."

NCDHHS estimates a median time to recovery of 14 days from the date of specimen collection for non-fatal COVID-19 cases who were not hospitalized, or if hospitalization status is unknown. The estimated median recovery time is 28 days from the date of specimen collection for hospitalized non-fatal COVID-19 cases.

"It is important to note that patients’ actual recovery times could be shorter or longer depending on the severity of illness," NCDHHS stated. "These estimates are unrelated to the number of cases that are or are not still infectious. These estimates cannot account for other factors that could impact a patient’s recovery time or disease severity, such as age and underlying health conditions.

"Doctors and scientists do not yet know if patients who have recovered are protected with natural immunity from getting COVID-19 again," NCDHHS added.

As of 3:20 p.m. May 11, 1,339,819 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., while 79,894 people have died with the virus and 216,219 are estimated to have recovered from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Nine Watauga County residents have tested positive in addition to one traveler in the county, while cases continue to increase in neighboring counties. Over the weekend, AppHealthCare, the public health department for Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties, reported that Ashe County's case count has risen to 13. Wilkes County leads area counties with 242 confirmed cases and one COVID-19-related death, according to the News & Observer, while Caldwell County has reported 60 cases and on May 11 reported its first virus-related death, according to county officials. Avery County is the lone N.C. county to have no lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date.

As of Friday, May 8, AppHealthCare had collected a total of 88 tests and outside agencies had collected 269 tests in Watauga County to date. The health department also started providing a count of individuals actively being monitored for COVID-19. As of May 8, the department was monitoring 13 people in Alleghany County, 18 people in Ashe County and two people in Watauga County.

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