Silvernail Oct. 14 2.jpg

Dr. Jon Silvernail, of the Pitt County Health Department, speaks during a news conference on Wednesday. He stressed the importance of wearing a mask when attending large gatherings.

Two more Pitt County residents have died from COVID-19, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The 34th and 35th virus-related deaths in Pitt County both were black women. One was between the ages of 65-74 and the other was over the age of 75. One death occurred on Oct. 1, the other on Oct. 8.

Statewide, the number of hospitalizations have trended up, Pitt County Public Health Director John Silvernail said, adding he expects the Vidant Health will continue to see a high volume of COVID patients.

Currently, the Vidant system has 126 hospitalizations. Statewide, 1,152 people are hospitalized.

“I think we trended upward a little bit so I think they will continue to see a high volume probably in the range they are now,” Silvernail said. “They’re a little better than they were at the peak a few weeks ago, but they’re still above 100, earlier in this they were running in the 40-60 range across the Vidant system.”

Last week, Pitt County Schools reported 16 new school-affected cases. The previous week, PCS reported 12 cases.

The number of patients 17 years and younger has remained at about 8 percent of the county’s total COVID infections for several months, Silvernail said. Students and faculty cases in schools have been isolated, he said.

There will be several large events in Greenville this week, including a rally for President Donald Trump today and a football game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday.

Silvernail said those who plan to attend such events should stay home if they are sick.

“If you’re sick, don’t take the chance of spreading this infection to others, or any other infection to other people for that matter,” he said.

If people adhere to social distancing, wearing a mask and hand hygiene, there will be minimal transmission of the virus, he said.

Onset of the virus can take anywhere from a day and a half to three days, he said.

“So over the next two weeks if there’s a surge in activity, we may be able to say that’s from an event here in town,” Silvernail said.

Pitt County did not see a spike in cases after Labor Day or after the reopening of public schools, Silvernail said.

“So I’m going to hope for the best but will be prepared for the worst if cases do happen,” Silvernail said.

A total of 5,593 Pitt County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since March. Pitt County said an increase of 56 new cases on Wednesday. A total of 312 new cases were reported between Oct. 8-14, an average of 45 cases a day.

A total of 236,407 North Carolinians have contracted the virus. North Carolina saw an increase of 1,926 COVID cases on Wednesday. A total of 13,438 new cases were reported between Oct. 8-14, an average of 1,920 cases a day.