The Wilkes County Health Department reported Friday that 19 Wilkes residents were hospitalized with COVID-19, the most yet for the county.

Twenty-six new COVID-19 cases reported Friday brought the county’s total to 1,998, up nearly 200 from 1,803 a week ago. It also was reported Friday that Wilkes County has 202 active COVID-19 cases.

The health department reported 42 COVID-19-related deaths for Wilkes Friday, up from 41 earlier in the week. Details on the latest death haven’t been released.

The Wilkes Journal-Patriot wasn’t able to ascertain the number of COVID-19 patients at Wilkes Medical Center from the Wake Forest Baptist Health media office. The newspaper received a statement from Dr. Hayes Calvert, chief medical officer at Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center, in response to questions.

Calvert said, “There has been an increase of COVID-19 cases and patients requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 in our community, across the state and around most of the country. Our dedicated staff at Wilkes Medical Center and throughout the Wake Forest Baptist Health system continues to provide the highest-quality care for all patients – those with and without COVID-19.

“We are monitoring current and projected volumes throughout our health system and have developed surge plans to ensure we are prepared for any increases that may occur.

“While caring for patients with COVID-19 requires additional resources and safety measures, neither Wilkes Medical Center nor any of the other hospitals in the Wake Forest Baptist system are overwhelmed and we do not want anyone to delay seeking medical care.

“We urge everyone in our community to do all they can to protect themselves and their loved ones, especially as we enter flu season. The same measures we can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are also effective in reducing the spread of influenza.”

The Triad Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, which includes hospitals in Wilkes and all adjoining counties plus Forsyth and other Triad counties, led the state’s eight healthcare preparedness coalitionS in COVID-19 hospital patients early this week with 327.

North Carolina has its largest one-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday with 2,908.

There were more than 2,000 new cases every day this week except Monday, according to data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The rate of tests coming back as positive is hovering around 7% in North Carolina, well above the 5% level state health officials have described as a reasonable goal.

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