RALEIGH — A total of 137 positive COVID-19 cases, up 40 from the day before, was confirmed by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in an update posted at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 20.
The total comes from 28 different counties, six of which confirmed their first cases in the last day, including New Hanover, Pasquotank and Pitt counties. Watauga County confirmed its second COVID-19 case on March 18, while Ashe, Avery, Caldwell and Wilkes counties all have not announced any positive COVID-19 cases.
The total of confirmed positive tests have continued to increase the last several days as testing becomes more available across the state.A total of 3,233 people have been tested as of 9:30 a.m. on Friday, March 20, up from 2,505 the day before, according to DHHS.
According to AppHealthCare, the Ashe county district health department, it has administered 2 COVID-19 tests to date, while "outside agencies" have tested an additional 16 people in Ashe.
Mecklenburg County’s cases increased from 13 to 28 in the last day, according to the N.C. DHHS. The county itself reports that it has 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Twitter post on March 19. Wake County has 23 cases and Durham County had 33, according to the N.C. DHHS.
At times, the information reported by individual counties differs from the N.C. DHHS, which updates its COVID-19 count webpage daily.
"Reportable diseases, like COVID19, are reported by county of residence, not where the test was performed," said Kelly Haight Connor, communications manager with the N.C. DHHS. "The count on our website is accurate and updated every morning."
At a March 19 press event, Cooper said that a case in Wilson County is the first confirmed case of community spread, which means the person had not traveled nor been in contact with a known positive case.
As stated by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials, the number of actual COVID-19 cases is likely higher than reported numbers due to the time it takes to complete the tests. The COVID-19 tests can take at least 24 hours to confirm, AppHealthCare's Melissa Bracey previously said. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Senior Vice President for Advancement Rob Hudspeth said on March 18 that curbside test results could take up to four days.