The Wilkes County Health Department is reporting the first COVID-19-associated death in Wilkes County, a woman in her late 60s who was a patient at Wilkes Medical Center in North Wilkesboro.

The woman died late Tuesday from complications associated with the virus.

Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard said the woman had underlying health conditions. Willard also said she was the county's first confirmed COVID-19 case, which the health department reported Monday morning.

“On behalf of the Wilkes County local health department and government, we extend our deepest sympathy to the family,” stated Willard.

To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about the patient will be released, stated a press release from the health department.

“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, the press release stated.

The health department reported a second confirmed COVID-19 case early Monday afternoon. That person, a community transmission case, was at home self-isolating on Monday. 

These are the only two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wilkes that have been reported thus far.

Tuesday morning, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,498 cases, 157 hospitalizations and eight deaths related to COVID-19. The Wilkes death makes the ninth.

The Wilkes Health Department issued a reminder to the public to share credible, reliable information and practice prevention measures like hand washing, covering when you cough and sneeze and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. 

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