Catawba County News

Catawba County Announces its First Death Associated with COVID-19

Catawba County Announces its First Death Associated with COVID-19

Published: April 03, 2020

Catawba County Public Health is reporting the first COVID-19 associated death in Catawba County.

The individual was hospitalized and later died on March 30 from complications associated with the virus. Public Health was notified of the test result today. The patient was in their early 70s and had underlying medical conditions. The person did not reside at a senior living facility. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about this patient will be released.

"We extend our deepest condolences to this person’s loved ones. This is news no one wants to hear," said Catawba County Health Director Jennifer McCracken. "This death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this disease, and one that none of us ever wanted to see."

New Cases

Three additional new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Catawba County, bringing the county’s total number of residents who have tested positive to 20. We have received 296 negative test results.

The county’s total case number is based on COVID-19 test results. Not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so this does not represent the total number of people who have or had COVID-19.

Because community spread is occurring locally and across North Carolina, all residents are urged to stay home and avoid contact with others to the extent possible.

Catawba County case and testing numbers are updated by 1 p.m. daily on the Catawba County website at

Case Investigations Ongoing

Public Health is investigating confirmed cases to identify close contacts who may be affected. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for 10 minutes or longer, according to the CDC.

Public Health is assessing the risk of exposure to others and is advising them on appropriate monitoring, testing, and additional protective measures on a case-by-case basis. Protective measures may include temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Guidance for Individuals

For most people, COVID-19 infection will cause mild illness that does not require medical care. However, it can make some people very ill and, in some people, it can be fatal. While all people can call their doctors if they are concerned about symptoms of COVID-19, it is especially important for people at higher risk for severe illness. According to the CDC, those at higher risk include people who:

  • Are 65 years and older.
  • Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
  • Have a high-risk condition, including chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, heart disease with complications, compromised immune system, severe obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or other underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease.

People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness. However, to date, data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk for severe illness due to pregnancy. While children are generally at lower risk for severe infection, some studies indicate a higher risk among infants.

Anyone with more serious symptoms should call their doctor or 911 right away. More serious symptoms can include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, confusion or blue lips.

People who are sick with COVID-19 or believe they might have it should stay home and separate themselves from other people in the home as much as possible. They can go back to their normal activities when they can answer YES to all the following questions:

  • Has it been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms?
  • Have you been without fever for three days (72 hours) without any medicine for fever?
  • Are your other symptoms improved?

Household members and people who have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms. Close contact means within six feet for at least 10 minutes. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps to prevent spreading it.