Nash County health officials announced Friday another COVID-related death and two new coronavirus clusters in Nash County, one at a church in Rocky Mount.
“It is with a heavy heart that Nash County has been notified of the county’s 23rd COVID-19 related death,” Nash County Deputy Health Director Trey Wright said Friday afternoon.
The latest COVID-related death involved a woman in her early 60s with underlying health conditions, the statement said. She died Friday from complications associated with the virus.
Earlier in the day, Nash County Health Director Bill Hill updated COVID-19 case numbers during a meeting of the Nash County COVID-19 Emergency Response Team.
As of Friday, Nash County was posting 1,537 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of that number, 997 people are considered recovered, 494 are isolated at home and 24 are hospitalized.
Hill also reported at the meeting that a cluster of cases has been reported for the first time at a Nash County church. A cluster is defined by state health officials as “both a minimum of five cases in the same facility within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiological linkage between cases.”
Hill said that six COVID-19 cases have been linked to Cornerstone Independent Baptist Church on Beechwood Road in Rocky Mount. In a later interview, Hill said that the first case was reported on Aug. 12 and the last case was reported on Aug. 20. No deaths have been associated with that cluster, Hill said.
Hill said church officials and members have been very cooperative with the Nash County Health Department and the spread seems to be declining, though contact tracing is still ongoing. At the recommendation of the Nash County Health Department, the church has reverted to holding services online for now, he said.
Hill said another cluster of cases was reported at the Nash County Public Schools bus garage. At least six employees at that location have tested positive and the garage is closed temporarily, he said.
“No students have been affected by this, thankfully, since the bus routes aren’t running,” Hill said.
Hill said he has seen reports of several people who have tested positive at other local businesses, including restaurants. In these cases, if several people are impacted, the business may be advised to close for a few days. In other cases, if only one or two people are affected, restaurants may need to switch over to drive-through service.
“We are seeing COVID-19 affect more people in the community in the last few weeks, and the number of hospitalizations is going up, which reflects the number of acute cases we are seeing. While the total number of cases reported this week was 129, which is lower than the 182 we reported a few weeks ago, it is imperative that everyone remains vigilant and remembers the three Ws,’ Hill said.
Nash County also released updated demographic data Friday providing a snapshot of Nash County residents who have tested positive so far.
Of the 1,537 cases reported so far in Nash County, most are in women. So far, 860 women have tested positive compared to 696 men.
Blacks continue to contract the virus at higher rates than most other demographic groups. So far, 559 Nash County residents who have tested positive have identified in this category, compared to 414 Caucasians, 11 Native Americans and two Asians.
But Hispanics are testing at the highest compared to demographic makeup of the county. While Hispanics make up less than 8 percent of the population of Nash County, they account for roughly 30 percent of the cases with 459 confirmed positives. The remaining cases are of mixed or unknown race.
Age still is a factor, though the numbers are growing among all age groups. So far, 350 cases have been reported among Nash County residents 60 years old or above, 249 cases have been reported in 50-somethings, 257 have been reported in the 40-49 age group, 258 were among 30-somethings and 243 were reported in the 20-29 age group. Another 199 cases have been reported in young people 19 years old and younger, including 86 cases reported in children 14 years old and younger.
As of Thursday, the Edgecombe County Health Department reported 893 cumulative positive cases of COVID-19 among Edgecombe County residents. Of that number, 713 people are considered recovered and 20 have died. These are the latest figures to be reported by that county.
Edgecombe County does not report any demographic data concerning COVID cases.