NC health officials testing 334 suspect cases of H1N1, Mecklenburg County waiting on results for 8 specimens

By Jeff Rivenbark - email

MECKLENBURG, NC (WBTV) - The Mecklenburg County Health Department has submitted 11 possible swine flu/H1N1 specimens for testing at the state laboratory since Monday.

Three of those were negative and the health department is still waiting for results on 8 specimens.

As of Friday afternoon, North Carolina Health Director Jeff Engel said 334 suspect cases are being investigating.  202 of those cases already came back negative.  130 cases are still pending.

At this point, there have been only two probable cases.  One was in Onslow County and that person is in isolation.  The other person was a traveler in Wake County who has since returned home to Canada.

In South Carolina, 16 people are sick with the H1N1 virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now confirms 141 cases of the virus in 19 states in the United States.

To prevent further spread of the disease, health officials said you should wash your hands often and stay away from others if you are ill or have symptoms.

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan was in Charlotte Friday.  She toured Carolinas Medical Center-Main and participated in a news conference to talk about the government's response to the outbreak.

Should an outbreak occur in North Carolina, Carolinas Medical Center-Main would serve as the Incident Command Center for 25 hospitals between the mountains and coast.

Senator Hagan said she was extrememly impressed by the hospital's preparations and believes it should serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

WBTV's Michael Handy has more details about how the hospital is preparing for H1N1.