During the July 27 ZOOM meeting online at Caswell Cares on Facebook, Caswell County Health Department Chairman Shannon Moritz announced that the weekly meetings would start airing every two weeks since the stream of new information has slowed down somewhat.

The next meeting is set for August 10 at 2 p.m.

Health Director Jennifer Eastwood reported that there are 172 cases as of July 27 with 158 people out of isolation and 138 considered recovered with no symptoms.

She reminded everyone that North Carolina has a symptoms based strategy for releasing patients from isolation as opposed to a test-based strategy.

This means in order for a positive patient to be released from isolation they have to meet the following criteria: ten days from the onset of symptoms; and fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medications; and improvement in symptoms. Once those criteria are met, the individual does not have enough viral load to infect others. For that reason, North Carolina is no longer testing individuals for a negative result.

Eastwood said she understands how families and friends miss each other and want to socialize. But, she reminds everyone to continue to be vigilant about social distancing and frequent hand washing, even at family gatherings. Eastwood said she had just read a story about a recent backyard barbeque in Texas that resulted in four people testing positive afterwards, two deaths, and a couple more family members hospitalized.

The health department held a recent testing at Meadowview and Old Farm apartments with 15 people tested at each of them. Bags were also handed out with supplies inside such as hand sanitizer, face mask, a magnet with important numbers, and thermometers. Both the Health department and Caswell Family Medical Center continue to test curbside by appointment.

Eastwood explained the reasoning for requiring appointments. She said grouping patients during a certain time period allows the testing center to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the nurses swabbing for COVID-19. It also allows staff time to process the specimens and get them ready to be shipped to the lab. Listeners on the call asked about the symptom check on the NC DHHS website, saying they had tried it, but never gotten a response from the website. Eastwood said she wasn’t sure what the status of that tool was, but that individuals could always call the local health department to describe symptoms and see if testing is advised.

Update: As of 8/3/2020 the Caswell case count is now up to 187 individuals, with 26 individuals in isolation. “With the number of infected individuals increasing in counties around us, I expect our numbers to continue to climb” said Eastwood.