COVID cases rise, new state app

Liz O’Connell Staff Writer

WADESBORO — Anson County’s slow, but steady rise of COVID-19 cases is proving to be deadly as two more residents passed last week from the virus.

Since the first case in the county on March 31, the Anson County Health Department continues to report an increasing rate of virus in the community. The health department reported 639 total COVID-19 cases and 76 of those being active, as of Oct. 2.

The two most recent deaths, of six total, were of two individuals well over their 60s and both with underlying conditions, according to ACHD Nursing Director Dana Thomas.

The two who passed were battling with COVID-19 for about two weeks, until the virus completely took over.

Thomas said one of the two discovered a positive COVID-19 result while getting tested at the health department’s drive-thru clinics, held every Wednesday morning.

Even as cases are rising in the county, ACHD is seeing a decline in people coming through their testing site. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, Thomas said less than ten people came to get tested.

Although testing at the health department decreased, the state launched “SlowCOVIDNC” a COVID-19 exposure notification app, hopefully initiating a better response and slowing the spread.

Using Bluetooth, the app will notify a user if he or she has been in close contact with someone who shared a positive test result within the app. The SlowCOVIDNC app will be on in the background, exchanging anonymous tokens to other app users. Tokens are random numbers assigned to you and change every 10 to 20 minutes, protecting your privacy and security.

Your phone will record how long and how far apart you are from another app user by the Bluetooth signal strength. The app never stores your information or location. It only shares if you were exposed and the potential exposure date.

If you do test positive, you can submit an anonymous PIN into the app. This allows other app users to be notified if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive in the last 14 days.

The goal of SlowCOVIDNC app to slow the spread of the virus through quick notifications of possible exposure to the virus. The app also provides support and health guidelines on checking symptoms, isolating or quarantining and testing.

The health department advises to continue following the same three rules since the pandemic struck: wear a mask, stay six feet apart and wash your hands.