COVID-19 cases populate the state

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, stands at 51. Wake County leads with 15 cases, many of which are tied to a Biogen conference in Boston that has been the culprit of clusters of cases in multiple states. For others, the patients contracted the virus during travel. Cases in both Craven and Harnett counties were from international travel, and Brunswick County’s was an individual who traveled to Louisiana and became symptomatic while there.

State health director Elizabeth Tilson said the state’s testing capability for the virus continues to grow, with 376 tests completed at the state public health laboratory and supplies for 1,350 additional tests. “North Carolina’s in incredibly good shape I think in terms of our planning and preparedness,” said Tilson.

The American Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank, has been tracking testing capacity nationwide. As of March 17, they have estimated national capacity, with two samples per patient, at 36,810 daily tests that can be administered. That number is expected to substantially increase by the end of the week. Johns Hopkins clinical microbiologist Heba Mostafa says with added testing, “we will be able to diagnose more cases. This will allow control of the exposure.”