LUMBERTON — The deaths of four more Robeson County residents because of COVID-19 and 49 new confirmed cases were reported Monday by the county’s Health Department.
The latest deaths were an 85-year-old woman, a 78-year-old man, a 73-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man. All four had underlying health conditions, according to the Health Department. Forty-four county residents have died after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Only three county residents died of the flu during the 2019-20 season, said Bill Smith, county Health Department director.
“Comparing these two numbers is a reflection on the severe impact the novel disease has had locally,” Smith said.
The cases reported Monday bring the county’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 1,429. The oldest new coronavirus patient is 95 years old and the youngest is 3. Females made up 29 of the cases, and 20 were males.
Whites accounted for 11 of the latest confirmed cases, 10 were African American, nine were American Indian, six were Hispanic, and 13 case reports did not list race.
The local hospital tested 26 of the cases, nine were tested outside Robeson County, five were tested at private health-care providers, and four at a pharmacy drive-through testing site. Two each were tested at a Veteran’s Affairs hospital and quick care facility. One case report did not specify where the patient was tested.
After four weeks of a steady decline in case numbers, last week’s total, as reported by the Health Department, closed with Wednesday and Thursday tallying a combined 87 cases. Smith said a decrease in local testing opportunities in recent weeks led to downward trend in confirmed cases, among other factors.
“There were no mass drive-through testing opportunities — rather it was a natural accumulation,” he said. “Multiple members of families are testing at the same time with all being positive. Previously they were more staggered in their testing.”
Free drive-through testing will occur at St. Joseph Miracle Revival Church in Red Springs on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pre-registration is encouraged, but people wanting to be tested can register on-site during the event. The Lumbee Tribe government will be holding a drive-through clinic in Rowland this week. Go to https://www.lumbeetribe.com/ for more information.
Several of the new case reports indicated beach visits as possible causes of positive test results, Smith said.
“Myrtle Beach is often noted and due to the huge number of residents testing positive there, it is very easy for visitors to acquire if they are not protecting themselves,” Smith said. “That does not mean N.C.’s beaches are safer they just have a smaller number of vacationers and workers/residents.”
Southeastern Regional Medical Center reported Monday that 10 employees are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, one patient is isolated and under investigation for the virus, and 10 employees are in quarantine.
After a new one-day high in reported confirmed cases over the weekend, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday 1,546 new cases, and a new one-day high of 982 state residents are hospitalized. There have been 74,529 cases statewide during the pandemic, with 1,398 of those cases resulting in death.
The state health agency also reported Monday that 55,318 of the cases are presumed to be recovered.
An order of abatement of imminent hazard, signed by Smith, was presented to the owner and race promoter at 710 Dragway. The order calls for the immediate postponement of any future events at the race track near Rowland. Races Sunday and Monday at the track drew more than 4,000 spectators.
“The dragway and it’s race promoter, Paul Watson, have been extremely understanding and cooperative. They said they wanted to do the right thing for our community and are always willing to help however possible,” said Rob Davis, county government attorney.