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First person tests positive for coronavirus in North Carolina, health officials say

Updated: Mar. 3, 2020 at 11:48 PM EST
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(WBTV) - Health officials say a North Carolina person has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

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 (CDC) lab.

The North Carolina person from Wake County traveled to the state of Washington and was exposed at a long-term care facility where there is currently a COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials say the person is doing well and is in isolation at home. Governor Roy Cooper and the coronavirus task force held a media briefing on COVID-19 at the Joint Force Headquarters. Readers can watch below.

Gov. Cooper addressing first case of coronavirus in North Carolina

#BREAKING: CORONAVIRUS IN NC » Gov. Roy Cooper is addressing the state's response after the first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in NC. MORE » https://bit.ly/32KX7ZQ

Posted by WBTV News on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “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.”

Local health department officials are identifying close contacts to monitor symptoms and contain spread. To protect individual privacy, no further information will be released.

While awaiting confirmation of results from the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.

“Today’s announcement represents an isolated case, and COVID-19 is currently not widespread in North Carolina. Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures that healthcare 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,” a press release read.

Last month, Governor Cooper established the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force to support the state’s ongoing effort to monitor, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement:

“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.”

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport officials say they continue to work closely with federal partners and Mecklenburg County Public Health regarding the latest developments with coronavirus. Airport officials say they will follow directions from federal, state and local health officials and are prepared to initiate additional protocols, if requested.

CLT Airport has not been identified as an airport for advanced screening by the federal government, nor is the Airport identified as a CDC quarantine station.

The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) within the NC Department of Health and Human Services is now able to perform testing for the virus. This new capability allows North Carolina to more quickly take public health steps to respond to any positive test result.

Health officials say it is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS.

For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

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