RALEIGH — As the numbers of people tested continue to rise, the number of cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in North Carolina grows as the positive count was up to 97 as of 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
The positive cases come from 22 different N.C. counties, including Watauga County, up from 18 the day before Watauga on March 18 announced its second positive COVID-19 case.
There are no reported positive cases in the surrounding counties of Ashe, Avery, Wilkes or Caldwell and no N.C. deaths have been reported from the virus, as of 10 a.m. March 19.
The reported number is the second straight day of being the largest single-day case increase in the state so far, up from the 63 reported on March 18 and the 40 reported by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper on March 17. The number of tests administered was up to 2,505 on Thursday, according to the N.C. DHHS, meaning 655 tests came back within the previous 24 hours.
COVID-19 tests can take at least 24 hours to confirm, AppHealthCare's Melissa Bracey previously said.
According to a joint statement from the Durham County Department of Public Health and Duke University on March 18, the county had 11 new positive COVID-19 cases on March 18 after having 15 new positive cases on March 17. Most of the positive cases stem from individuals traveling abroad and all were directed to self-quarantine upon return.
As of 10 a.m., March 19, Wake County has 22 positive cases and Mecklenburg County has 13.
At a March 19 press event, Cooper said that a case in Wilson County is the first confirmed case of community spread, which means the person had not traveled nor been in contact with a known positive case.
The U.S. case count has risen to more than 9,400, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, which is tracking the number of cases worldwide through various data sources. Total number of deaths from COVID-19 in America were 150, the map stated.
At times, the information reported by individual counties differs from the N.C. DHHS information as new numbers are reported.
"Reportable diseases, like COVID19, are reported by county of residence, not where the test was performed," said Kelly Haight Connor, communications manager with the N.C. DHHS. "The count on our website is accurate and updated every morning."
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said on March 17 that community spread has likely already happened in the state and that there are likely many more cases yet to come.