The Forsyth County Department of Public Health reported the county’s ninth COVID-19 death Saturday, the second death this week and fourth in 10 days.
The deceased was in their late 50s and had at least one underlying medical condition, according to the health department. The four coronavirus-related deaths in the last 10 days are the county’s first since mid-April.
It also reported 25 new cases of the virus, bringing the county’s total number of lab-confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to 894, with 527 cases considered to be active. Saturday was the ninth day in a row the number of active cases in the county surpassed the number of recovered cases by more than 100.
Across North Carolina, at least 22,725 people have tested positive for the virus as of Saturday morning, according to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 1,100 new cases, the state’s highest single-day increase, were announced Saturday.
“This is a notable and concerning increase,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary of health, said in a news release.
Forsyth County’s cases make up about 4% of the total number of cases in the state. In terms of population, Forsyth County account for about 4% of the state’s population.
The county’s health director, Joshua Swift, asked everyone to keep the health of their loved ones in mind by wearing a mask as they celebrate this Memorial Day weekend.
“Wearing a mask shows that you are strong and that you care about people who may be at high risk,” Swift said. “They may be a relative, or work in a store. So wear it for them.”
At least one area grocery store has multiple confirmed COVID-19 cases among its employees. Three employees at the Food Lion supermarket at 12201 N. N.C. 150, on the Davidson and Forsyth county line, recently tested positive, according to a corporate spokesperson.
The employees last worked May 17, and the store underwent enhanced cleaning, according to the spokesperson.
“These cleaning procedures were in addition to our ongoing, rigorous sanitary practices, which have been greatly expanded during the health crisis,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We continue to encourage our associates and customers to join us in taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to follow the recommendations from the CDC, including regular handwashing, following proper social distancing measures and staying home when sick.”
Davidson County reports at least 345 cases of the virus and 11 deaths there, according to the N.C. DHHS. On Friday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that a Thomasville High School graduate may have potentially exposed several people to the virus Wednesday after attending a school function within hours of being tested for the virus. The student tested positive, and the school system became aware of the positive result on Thursday.
Friday marked one of the state’s best days in terms of number of people tested, with more than 26,000 people tested across the state.
Friday also marked the beginning of Phase 2 in North Carolina’s three-part plan to gradually reopen. Restaurants, hair salons, barbershops, craft breweries, wineries and distilleries could all offer in-person service to customers with a limit on capacity.
On Saturday, traffic was heavy in the areas around Hanes Mall and Hanes Mall Boulevard as shoppers flocked to retail stores and restaurants.
In downtown Winston-Salem, many restaurants reopened for business, and would-be diners could be seen standing in line. Many restaurants opened their outdoor seating areas, and the flow of people was constant throughout midday and into the afternoon.
Winston-Salem Journal reporter Richard Craver contributed to this report.