State passes 1,000 COVID-19 deaths

Secretary of the NC Department Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen speaks as Gov. Roy Cooper looks on during a briefing on North Carolina’s coronavirus pandemic response Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at the NC Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH – Today’s update from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) indicates the state has now passed 1,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus.

“These are very concerning numbers. We must protect our loved ones and neighbors by working together. It begins with the three Ws – wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart and washing hands frequently. It doesn’t stop there. Testing and knowing who has been exposed so they can have the resources and support they need are our tools for slowing the spread of this virus,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

As of the last congregate living settings update, 534 deaths have been in nursing homes, 77 in residential care facilities, and 22 in correctional facilities. Another 294 reported deaths were not related to congregate living facilities.

Also as of Monday’s update, there were 739 individuals hospitalized with 77% of hospitals in the state reporting. It is not known which hospitals were reporting. Among inpatient hospital beds, 25% of all beds were available for use, 14% of all intensive care beds were available, and 74% of the state’s ventilator supply was available. The number of beds available is totaled from all available beds, not just for COVID-19 needs.

Mecklenburg County continues to lead the state in confirmed cases by county, with 5,682 total. The next highest counties are Wake and Durham, with 2,300 and 2,180 respectively. The number of people presumed to have recovered from the virus stands at 23,653.

NCDHHS also announced today that child protective services and adult protective services workers are now designated as first responders. This classification will help these critical workers access Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed while working in situations that require face-to-face contact with adults, children and families amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Face-to-face contact is often essential for child protective services and adult protective services work,” said Cohen. “This designation will help these emergency workers have the tools they need to stay safe while continuing to serve vulnerable children, adults and families.”

Child protective services and adult protective services protect children and adults who are suspected or who have been found to be abused, neglected or exploited. The new designation for child protective services and adult protective services workers is in addition to other measures intended to limit face-to-face contacts to the extent possible or conduct visits virtually.