Pitt County health director says phased reopening could come soon

Pitt County Heath Director John Silvernail held a Tuesday briefing on the coronavirus, as he’s been doing twice a week since the virus was suspected in eastern North Carolina nearly two months ago.

He announced, however, that those briefings may move to once a week or as needed as the stay at home order enacted by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper expires at the end of the week.

The most recent numbers show that there have been 141 cases in Pitt County over the course of the outbreak and new case trends are looking better.

“That appears to be shouldering or flattening out,” he explained.

He says testing has increased but the number of positive results is going down.

“Of the people that are being tested, about one in ten – or a little under one in ten – are positive.”

There have been two COVID-19 deaths, and 93 patients of the 141 total cases have since recovered.

“Our data trends are favorable and I think we could reopen,” said the health director.

He says any restrictions in a phased in opening of the county would be at least as restrictive as the proposed Phase I reopening of the state.

Silvernail added that the actual number of cases could be five to ten times greater than have been confirmed, and he believes future cases won’t as much look like a spike but a slow rolling wave.

“I think this is going to be a slow burn with a small number of cases for a long time,” he said, “But I don’t know that there’s going to be a second wave.”