The Lee County Health Department confirmed three new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday afternoon, the second day in a row with that many new cases, bringing the count to 12 total.

Confirmed instances of the Coronavirus have spiked locally since Friday, when only four cases had been confirmed since the beginning of tracking in March. Two were confirmed Friday and three on Saturday. Of the 12, one has recovered and 11 are under observation. There have been no deaths reported.

As part of Sunday’s announcement, Lee County Health Director Heath Cain issued a statement apparently in response to calls to release patient information, which the county does not do, in accordance with federal health privacy laws. He said people should consider the virus to be everywhere they go and to stay at home if at all possible.

“The Lee County Health Department is committed to protecting the public health and safety of all county residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The department understands the public interest in learning more about the positive cases in Lee County, but the department has a responsibility to maintain and protect patient privacy,” Cain said. “Public interest stems from the desire to protect one’s self from the virus and the belief that knowing more details about individual cases will help people avoid trouble spots in the county.  But the reality is that COVID-19 is widespread in North Carolina so every public spot is a potential trouble spot.  Venturing outside of your home, even for essential activities, means you are increasing your risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 in our community.  We are past the stage where avoiding known cases keeps us safe.  While it remains a good idea to avoid individuals we know are sick, the fact remains that every person you come in contact with has the possibility of transmitting the virus.  You may feel more secure if you are able to know you have not visited the same areas as someone who is sick but the truth is that the virus may be anywhere in the community.  When you go out in public, you are at risk.  This is the hard truth that people must accept – the virus is widespread, it may be anywhere, anyone you come in contact with may be infected and the only way to avoid the virus is to stay home and away from others.  Please follow the state’s stay-at-home order, doing so will help keep you healthy and it will help save lives.  Social distancing, wearing face masks, washing your hands – these activities will help but the only sure way to avoid the virus is to stay home and away from others.  These are challenging times but by following the recommendations of healthcare professionals, our community will face this challenge and get through this together.”