While the number of total COVID-19 coronavirus cases continues to rise in Macon County, there was some good news on Tuesday.
According to information provided by the Macon County Public Health department, the number of active cases in the county decreased from the day prior.
As of Monday, Macon County had 253 total cases, with 213 of those considered active cases, 39 recovered and one death. By Tuesday, several active cases were deemed recovered, which brought numbers to 257 total cases, with 191 active cases, 65 recovered and one death.
On Wednesday, the trend continued as total cases increased to 265, but the number of cases active dropped to 181 with 80 people deemed recovered and one death.
“In order to be considered recovered, a patient has to go through the entire process,” Macon County Emergency Services Director Warren Cabe said. “Once they test positive, they are considered active. After 7-8 days that person can be tested again, and if that test is negative then they wait another 3-4 days and are given a third test. A second negative means that the person is officially labeled recovered.”
As of Wednesday there have been 3,185 COVID-19 tests administered in Macon County. Cabe noted that the number of tests completed is roughly 10 percent of the county’s year-round population.
“The testing started slowly when the COVID-19 pandemic began and we were told that it would be a benchmark to get to five percent of the population tested,” Cabe said. “Now with the tests more readily available, we have been told that the numbers will provide a more accurate mathematical representation of the population as a whole when we get to 10 or even 15 percent. We are well on our way to testing 15 percent.”
MCPH released its first demographic report related to COVID-19 on June 17. According to that report, only 51 percent of the total positive cases were symptomatic, meaning that 49 percent were asymptomatic.
“Those numbers present both good and bad news,” Cabe said. “The good news is, people who are asymptomatic aren’t getting sick or displaying symptoms. The bad news is, those people are very hard to contact trace because they don’t know how long they have been positive for COVID-19 and if you don’t know you are positive you are more likely to spread it to others.”
People age 25-49 made up the largest percentage of the positive COVID-19 cases at 44.4 percent. Children ages 0-17 made up 25.6 percent of the positives, followed by people ages 18-24, who made up 17 percent of the positives.
While an increasing number of positive COVID-19 patients being moved into the recovered category is a positive step, Cabe reminded the public to remain vigilant and take the proper precautions to slow the virus’ spread.
“Total COVID-19 cases are still increasing, so people should continue to practice social distancing, wash their hands often, wear a mask in public places and stay home if they feel ill,” Cabe said. “So far our healthcare system in Macon County has been able to handle the number of COVID-19 patients we have seen without being overrun and we want to keep it that way.”
North Carolina is currently in “phase two” of Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to reopen the state’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, bowling alleys, skating rinks, playgrounds and fitness centers remain closed. Public gatherings are currently limited to 10 people or less if the event is indoors, and 25 people or less if the event is outdoors.
Cooper indicated when he moved the state into “phase two” that the state could take the next step into “phase three” as early as June 26. Phase three would allow for additional businesses to open and would increase the number of people allowed at gatherings.
As of Wednesday, Cooper had not made any announcement regarding when the state will move into “phase three.”