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The McDowell County Health Department has been notified that four additional McDowell County residents have tested positive for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the known total to 38.

That comes one day before McDowell and North Carolina enter Phase Two, with the partial reopenings of some businesses.

The initial investigation reveals the source of transmission to be both unknown, as well as, contact to other positives.

Public health staff have already initiated an investigation and will be identifying close contacts to contain the spread of disease. To protect individual privacy, no further information about the case will be released.

 There have been 744 people tested, 648 negative results and 58 tests are pending results. Currently, there are nine individuals in quarantine, 28 out of quarantine and one death.

It is important for the community to understand that the identification of additional cases does not change our local strategies for preventing and reducing the spread of disease.

“Because we are continuing to get positive results, we know that community transmission is ongoing," stated Public Health Director Karen Powell. "When people engage in mass gathering situations, we know that the risk of transmission is high. Whether these gatherings are community or within families, it only takes one positive to infect the whole group. I highly encourage you to stay vigilant in social distancing, good hygiene and using protective measures to keep ourselves safe. We must see the numbers go down, in order to assure, that the public is safe and transmission chances are low. We cannot lose focus of this serious situation, which is to stop the transmission of COVID-19 and to save lives. Your Public Health team is dedicated and committed to keeping you safe and protecting the community. McDowell County is strong, and we will get through these unprecedented times.”

The Health Department is continuing to test individuals for COVID-19. If an individual would like to be tested, they can call the hotline at (828) 527- 6687. The operator will ask a list of questions and will provide the caller with the appropriate instructions based upon the answers given. The hours of operation for this hotline are 8AM – 8PM, 7 days per week. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher that you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Citizens can utilize an online COVID-19 screening tool by going to mcdowell.clearstep.health and completing the assessment.

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