The rate of new coronavirus cases in Person County has increased as the state has transitioned into the second phase of its reopening plan.
In the 19 days that the state has been in phase two, the Person County Health Department has announced 34 new cases of COVID-19, the same amount as in the 60 days before that.
In that time, the county’s single day high was four cases May 6, the county had not announced cases in more than three consecutive days, and the seven-day high was eight cases, which occurred twice.
The county has set new seven-day new case highs twice since the state reopened restaurants and personal care businesses at 14 and 15 cases in a week. The county has announced cases in five consecutive days between May 26 and 30 and set a new daily high at seven cases on May 28.
Person County Health Director Janet Clayton said the increased number of cases in Person County is a result of two factors.
“There has been an increase in the number of tests performed,” she said. “The other is that people are getting out and about and maybe not social distancing or taking other precautions as much as they were in previous months.”
Clayton said 683 tests were completed in the county between March 1 and May 22, an average of eight tests per day. In that time, 4.9 percent were positive.
Since the state entered phase two, 191 tests have been completed, an average of 10 tests per day resulting in 17 percent of tests returning positive.
Those numbers come with the caveat that not all negative tests are reported and not all testing labs directly interface with the North Carolina Electronic Disease Surveillance System, often resulting in a delay for entering testing data.
Clayton said turnout for free, drive-thru testing was low in the first day of testing at Southern Middle School. Only 14 tests were conducted in the three hours of testing.
“We expected more because we had been receiving calls asking about testing locations and we would provide those instructions and now we’re providing the site for those that want to be tested,” Clayton said.
The final currently-planned drive-thru testing date is Wednesday, June 17 from 12-3 p.m. Those with insurance are asked to bring their insurance card.
Even with the uptick in cases, Clayton said there has been no consideration of implementing any restrictions beyond the floor set by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Gov. Roy Cooper. She said such considerations would require “a very large increase in cases” locally.
Person County is faring better than its neighbors.
With 68 total cases, Person County has 16 cases per 10,000 residents. There has been one COVID-related death.
Caswell County has 98 cases and one death – 43 cases per 10,000 residents.
Orange County has 415 cases and 40 deaths – 28 cases per 10,000 residents.
Granville County has 610 cases and 14 deaths – 101 cases per 10,000 residents.
Durham County has 2,284 cases and 51 deaths – 72 cases per 10,000 residents.