Atrium doctor discusses risk level for coronavirus in Mecklenburg County

Clearing coronavirus concerns in the Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - While four people are being monitored in Mecklenburg County for the coronavirus, there have been no confirmed cases in the county, or any part of North Carolina.

Doctors in the county are towing a careful line, between keeping people in the area aware of what’s going on, and letting them know that there is still a low-level risk to the general public.

“The public, health care workers, everybody’s more heightened right now,” Atrium Health’s Dr. Katie Passaretti says.

Passaretti is monitoring the coronavirus across the world, with many questions about the condition still lingering.

“Are we going to see sustained person-to-person transmission outside of China or not?” she asks. “Because that’s what kicks it into likelihood of spread worldwide versus keeping it relatively contained.”

The four people who are, according to WBTV sources, coming from China’s affected Wuhan District, are now being monitored in Mecklenburg County. Doctors like Passaretti want to remind people who hear this – there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in North Carolina.

“It’s a really tricky line,” she says. “Because you do want awareness, but you don’t want panic. So it’s walking that line of being rational about what’s going on, and what the actual risks are in our area.”

Those four travelers are being monitored out of an abundance of caution. Mecklenburg County is still at a low-level risk of coronavirus becoming an issue.

“Right now, I’m more concerned about the flu,” Passaretti says.

She says concern for the spread of the flu can get lost when something like the coronavirus grabs attention.

“Putting into relative risks things like flu season, which we are at the very height of risk now, we’re certainly seeing tons of that,” she says.

She adds, there seems to be a spike in flu cases just in the last week. While she wants the public to have awareness of the coronavirus, she wants people to consider sicknesses they might be more likely to get.

“A lot of the things we recommend you do for flu season in general are the same things you can do to protect yourself,” she says. “So getting back to the main messages of wash your hands, stay at home if you’re sick, cover your cough and sneeze.”

Dr. Passaretti says the CDC has now released testing kits to the states now, if they are needed. Her team has been meeting several times a week with the state and county health departments to make sure they’re staying on top of any potential threat.

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