The number of COVID-19 cases in Forsyth County and North Carolina as a whole continues to grow, with at least 140 known cases in the state, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and county health departments.

As of noon Friday, there were at least eight cases of new coronavirus in Forsyth County, an increase from the five cases reported Thursday. In total, the Triad has at least 13 cases, with four known cases in Guilford County and one known case in Davidson County.

There were two known cases of COVID-19 in Forsyth County Wednesday. On Thursday, health officials said one of Forsyth County's patients had already recovered from the disease.

Of the eight cases, seven can be linked to travel, according to Assistant County Health Director Tony Lo Giudice. The eighth case is not linked to travel or close contact with a known patient.

On Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper said community transmission of the disease had begun.

Forsyth County Health Director Joshua Swift said Thursday his department would not release any information about local cases beyond the minimum required by the state health department.

There are no reported COVID-19 related deaths in North Carolina. There are more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with at least 150 virus-related deaths nationwide.

More than 3,200 tests for the virus have been completed across the state, according to DHHS. 

Testing supplies across the state are no longer in short supply. Burlington-based LabCorp, a medical-testing supply and laboratory company, announced a major scale-up in its testing capacity, with the ability to perform 20,000 tests a day beginning Friday.

Wake Forest Baptist Health, Cone Health and Novant Health are all tightening visitor restrictions at their hospitals in response to the virus.

Exceptions at Wake Baptist Health are:

* Hospitalized minors (maximum of two family members per day),

* Patients at the end of life (maximum of two family members per day),

* Patients needing help with communication, decision making or mobility,

* Patients giving birth (maximum of two family members or support people per day).

Novant facilities will continue to limit entrances and exits to centralize the foot traffic of patients, visitors and employees, including screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

Those under 18 can be visited by one parent or guardian, while laboring mothers can have a partner and one birth support person.

Visitors must be healthy, with no cough, fever or flu-like symptoms, and be at least age 13 or older unless seeking medical care. Additional exceptions may be granted in special circumstances, such as end-of-life care.

Cone Health said its tightened visitor restrictions will go into effect at 6 a.m. Monday.

Those policies will be similar to those with Novant and Wake Forest Baptist.

Women in labor will be allowed to have just one person with them for their entire hospital visit.

Two parents or guardians will be allowed to visit children under 18.

Cone said exceptions "can be made to allow a total of four people to visit those nearing the end of life. People should talk with the patient’s nurse about these and other situations."

Cone also requests that patients only bring one support person with them to receive other medical care, such as cancer treatments and prenatal check-ups.

Cone said separately that it is closing all 12 of its community-based outpatient rehabilitation locations in Alamance, Forsyth, Guilford and Rockingham counties.

Journal Reporter Richard Craver contributed to this report.

On Twitter @LeeOSanderlin


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