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The original item was published from 4/2/2020 8:35:48 AM to 5/16/2020 8:05:01 PM.

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Health Department

Posted on: April 1, 2020

[ARCHIVED] First Wilkes County COVID-19 Death

Wilkes County Reports First Death Related to COVID-19


The Wilkes County Health Department is reporting the first COVID-19 associated death in Wilkes County.

The individual died late on March 31st from complications associated with the virus. The patient was in their late 60’s. To protect the families’ privacy, no further information about these patients will be released.

“On behalf of the Wilkes County Local Health Department and Government, we extend our deepest sympathy to the family”, stated Rachel Willard, Health Director. “This unfortunate situation is a reminder that we should follow the Stay at Home order and utilize social distancing to protect ourselves and those around us, especially those who are at an increased risk, and who are most vulnerable.”

As of this morning Wilkes County still only has two confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of yesterday morning, NC DHHS is reporting 1,498 cases, 157 hospitalizations, and 8 deaths related to COVID-19. 

Wilkes Health wants to remind the public to share credible, reliable information and practice prevention measures like handwashing, covering your cough and sneeze, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

How to Protect Yourself:

Frequent hand washing

Staying home when you’re sick

Keeping distance from others who are sick

Avoiding touching your face

Cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles

Practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet from others

Do not congregate with more than 9 people

Please be aware that you may hear about people who have been instructed by their healthcare provider to self-isolate since they have been tested for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This does not mean that they have tested positive, it means that they are being guided to stay home until a test result is provided. This is a standard procedure for managing public health outbreaks.

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) Signs & Symptoms:



Shortness of breath

If you develop a fever, symptoms of respiratory illness or think you may have COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your symptoms so they can be prepared.

Those at higher risk for severe illness include:

Adults over the age of 65

Underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes

Weakened immune systems

Pregnant Women

Additionally, Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday another step to help families by prohibiting utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. Yesterday’s Order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days.

The Order directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment.

Telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules.

“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” said Governor Cooper. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we Stay at Home.”

Additionally, the Order encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged in the Order to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s Order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system.

Additional Resources:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at

North Carolina resources can be found on the Division of Public Health website at To view the case count for North Carolina, including a county map, please visit the NC DHHS website here.

A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821. To submit questions online, go to and select “chat.”


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