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March 21
Wake County COVID-19 Cases at 49

Note: We want to share important information with you as efficiently as possible. Going forward, we will combine all COVID-19-related updates into one news release each day. This news release will be emailed to you around 5 p.m. We will send additional news releases in some circumstances.

Wake County is investigating 17 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive test results in Wake County to 49.

“This is the largest single-day increase in positive cases that we have seen yet, but it’s not unexpected, based on how the virus is spreading in our community,” said Dr. Jose Cabanas, Wake County EMS director/medical director who is overseeing public health operations today in the Emergency Operations Center. “Residents can help slow down the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the strain on our local healthcare system by continuing to practice social distancing and staying home when sick.”  

Testing by the Numbers
Providing an accurate number of tests taken at any given time is challenging, because samples are processed by multiple laboratories, including the State Laboratory of Public Health and LabCorp. Other locations may come online in the future.

The county doesn’t have access to the number of tests LabCorp is processing each day, but it does track samples submitted to the State Lab. However, in both cases, positive results are reported to the local Public Health Division.

As of March 21 at 6 p.m., Wake County has 49 known positive cases of COVID-19. There are 59 people under investigation who were exposed to the virus and have developed symptoms. Of those, 47 people are waiting for test results; 12 are in the process of being tested.

Our Wake County Public Health team is reaching out to each positive case to assess their symptoms, gauge their health risks and provide guidance on self-isolating. Our staff ask that they stay home for at least seven days after the onset of symptoms and do not go out in public until they are symptom free for at least three days. Symptom free includes being fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Media should contact LabCorp for similar numbers from private sector tests.

Protecting Yourself
The county’s public health team encourages you to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:

  • Stay away from sick people and practice social distancing measures.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home if you’re sick and don’t send sick children to school or childcare.

Staying Updated
Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19.

You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents in English and in Spanish, a list of COVID-19-related closures and service changes, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19. The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 


Wake County Departments & Agencies: