RALEIGH — Governor Roy Cooper, in a Thursday morning coronavirus update, confirmed that North Carolina now has 12 cases. Subsequently, officials with the Forsyth County Health Department confirmed that two of the cases were in Forsyth County. A release from the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services confirmed that a third case was in Johnston County.
The tests, conducted by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, are presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab. According to the NCDHHS, all of the confirmed patients are doing well and are in isolation at home. While awaiting confirmation of results from the CDC, NCDHHS says it will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.
The Forsyth and Johnson County local health departments will work to identify close contacts with identified cases. The couple from Forsyth was on a cruise where other travelers have tested positive. The exposure for the person from Johnston County is being investigated, according to NCDHHS.
“This is not a surprise,” said Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson. “It’s likely that more individuals will test presumptively positive for the virus.”
The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, N.C. health officials are urging North Carolinians to take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.