This is why North Carolina does not report coronavirus recoveries

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As North Carolina continues to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic, many residents are wondering how many people have had the coronavirus and recovered completely.

To date, there have been at least 8,052 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina. At least 269 people have died from complications related to the virus.

CORONAVIRUS MAP: Tracking COVID-19 across North Carolina

While some counties have reported the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the state is not reporting recovery numbers at this time.

In a news conference on April 16, Cohen said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has yet to issue a standard criteria for reporting when a patient has recovered from COVID-19. Therefore, she said, North Carolina is working with the CDC and other states to create a standard definition for a recovered patient before reporting that number.

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"We've asked the CDC this question so we don't all define it in different ways just based on the state," Cohen said in the April 16 news conference. "We're trying to figure out how we as a country can all define recovery so we have that sort of standardization and not apples to oranges if we define it in different ways."

Cohen did not give a timeline for when the numbers might be available, but did echo that DHHS is working with the CDC on creating a definition for recovery in another news conference on April 21.

"That is something we haven't seen anyone define and we don't want all of us starting to define that in different ways," Cohen said on April 21.

While the CDC does not offer a standard definition for a "recovered" patient, on its website the agency said a patient can end isolation if they have not had fever for at least 72 hours, symptoms have improved and at least seven days have passed since their first symptom. If a patient is going to be tested, they also need to receive two negative tests in a row at least 24 hours apart.

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Despite Cohen's statement that the United States has not come up with a standard way to report patient recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University, nearly 90,000 recoveries have been reported in the United States.
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