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Forsyth reports 48 new COVID-19 cases, number of active cases continue to rise

The Forsyth County Department of Public Health reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, and the gap between active cases and recovered cases continues to widen.

At least 869 people in the county have tested positive for the virus, and 503 of those people are considered to have an active case of COVID-19. Friday is the eighth day in a row the number of active cases has outnumbered recovered cases by at least 100. The number of recovered cases, 358, is relatively unchanged from Thursday.

The county’s death toll remains at 8. On Thursday, Dr. Christopher Ohl, Wake Forest Baptist Health’s leading infectious disease expert, told reporters COVID-19 hospitalizations in Forsyth County are at their highest levels.

However, the actual numbers of hospitalizations for the county are not available. The county’s health department releases the previous week’s figures on Monday.

Across the state, at least 568 people are currently hospitalized because of the virus, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

At least 21,618 people in the state have tested positive for the virus, according to N.C. DHHS.

While some restaurants prepared to reopen at 5 p.m. Friday for in-person dining, County Health Director Joshua Swift asked people to continue to wear a face covering, to wash their hands and to stay 6 feet apart from one another when possible.

Restaurants will be capped to 50% capacity for all indoor diners, and diners at separate tables must remain 6 feet apart, according to Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest order. Masks are not required for diners or employers.

Neighboring Guilford County is reporting 50 COVID-19 related deaths.

Remembering Larry Womble

Family members, friends and community members honored the memory of the late Larry Womble with a viewing on Friday at Russell Funeral Home in Winston-Salem. Womble, an educator and advocate for justice who held elected positions in both the N.C. General Assembly and Winston-Salem city government, died May 14 at the age of 78. He had been in declining health for several years.

Teen charged with animal cruelty after dropping dog from balcony

A man who posted a video on social media that showed him dropping a stray dog from a balcony has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said.

Jashon Tyrell Hampton, 18, of Winston-Salem was arrested without incident on Friday and charged with felony animal cruelty by deputies with the animal services division of the sheriff’s office.

Authorities said the arrest came after someone sent a copy of the video to the sheriff’s office on Wednesday, a day after the video was posted on social media. In the video, authorities said, Hampton can be seen dropping the stray dog from a balcony, causing injuries to the dog that can be observed on the video.

Deputies made multiple efforts to find the injured dog but did not succeed in doing so.

The sheriff’s office said the investigation of the case started as soon as the video was received on Wednesday.

Hampton appeared before a magistrate and his bond was set at $1,000.

Authorities said anyone with information on the case should call the sheriff’s office at 336-727-2112, or CrimeStoppers at 336-727-2800.

A Thomasville High School student attended a graduation event after getting tested for COVID-19. The student tested positive.

A Thomasville High School graduate potentially exposed multiple students and staff members to COVID-19 Wednesday after attending a small graduation event hours after being tested for the virus.

The student, whose name will not be released, was tested Wednesday morning, according to Thomasville City Schools Superintendent Cate Gentry. People who are tested for the virus are asked to self-quarantine until receiving their results.

After being tested, though, the student went to a small graduation event in the high school auditorium.

On Thursday, the school system found out from the student’s family and the Davidson County Health Department that the student had tested positive for the virus.

During the graduation event Wednesday, students, in groups of about 10, went to the auditorium to be videotaped receiving their diplomas, Gentry said, with the school system planning to edit all the videos together to virtually recreate graduation.

“We knew we could not hold a full ceremony at this time,” Gentry said. “We are hopeful we can do something later in the summer, a little more traditional. There’s a lot of kids who are going to be heading off to the military, so if we postponed it and didn’t do something like this, they wouldn’t have that opportunity.”

The faculty and staff on stage remained there all day, and everyone had to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and follow social-distancing guidelines. However, Gentry said she couldn’t say for sure if the student had a mask on the entire time he or she was present. Students did remove their masks when walking across the stage.

The traditional handshake when receiving a diploma didn’t happen this year, Gentry said, and the only physical contact was handing over the diploma.

The school system informed everyone who may have been exposed to the student, and advised them to contact their physician about what to do next.

As of Friday morning, at least 332 people had tested positive for the virus in Davidson County, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Schools to get $16.8 million in federal money

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is expected to get $16.8 million in federal money to help with costs associated with the new coronavirus.

That pot of money will be drawn from the $356 million allotted to the state for distribution among schools. The State Board of Education approved the distribution Thursday.

The allotments to other districts in the area include: Davie County Schools ($969,000); Davidson County Schools ($3.3 million); Elkin City Schools ($210,000); Mount Airy Schools ($354,000); Stokes County Schools ($1.1 million); Surry County Schools ($1.8 million); and Yadkin County Schools ($1 million).

The state board also approved the distribution of $75 million in federal aid to help school districts with the cost of providing meals to students. Forsyth County will get about $3 million of that.

The federal money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed in March.