RALEIGH — Someone in North Carolina has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to state officials. The test, conducted by North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, is presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab. The patient is doing well and is in isolation at home.
“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared,” said Gov. Roy Cooper during a March 3 press conference announcing the news. “Our task force and state agencies are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur.”
The person, from Wake County, traveled to the state of Washington and was exposed at a long-term care facility where there is currently a coronavirus outbreak. Local health department officials are identifying close contacts to monitor symptoms and contain the spread.
While awaiting confirmation of results from the CDC, the state Department of Health and Human Services announced they will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.
The governor’s office says the announcement represents an isolated case, and coronavirus is currently not widespread in North Carolina. Because the virus is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, public health officials say North Carolinians should take the same measures that health care providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.
At the briefing, Cooper said the state should expect to see more cases of the coronavirus in the coming days and weeks.
Sen. Thom Tillis commented as well, saying, “The health and well-being of North Carolinians is my top priority, and I’m working to make sure Congress comes together on a bipartisan basis to provide billions of dollars in federal assistance to combat the coronavirus and protect North Carolinians. I’m in close communication with Vice President Pence and other federal leaders, and I will do everything I can to continue supporting our state’s medical institutions, universities, and health care systems, which are some of the best in the world and have a proven track record in treating infectious diseases.”