Charlotte-area hospitals implement visitor restrictions as coronavirus precaution

NC governor declares state of emergency amid coronavirus concerns

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Gov. Roy Cooper is providing an update Wednesday on coronavirus in North Carolina after the World Health Organization declared CO-VID19 a global pandemic.

Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina amid concerns of CO-VID19, a day after officials announced a total of seven positive coronavirus cases in the state. Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

“Existing visitation restrictions already apply to all children age 12 and under due to the ongoing flu season visitor restrictions that remain in effect,” the hospitals say.

All visitors with flu-like symptoms, regardless of age, will not be allowed in patient areas of the hospitals.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” Atrium says, as the hospitals take additional steps to help control the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC is actively working to increase access to testing for those who are worried they may have contracted CO-VID19.

“For those that have flu or cold-like symptoms, please stay home from work or school until you have no fever for at least 48 hours without Tylenol, Advil/Ibuprofen or other fever lowering medicines,” Atrium advises.

“Our most important work is keeping people healthy and safe," Cooper said.

Monday’s five additional North Carolina cases were all linked to people who traveled to Boston in late February to attend a BioGen conference. Several cases of COVID-19 across the country have been tied to the conference. Cooper expects more positive cases to be linked to the conference.

The new cases announced are based in Wake County, but are not related to the Wake County individual who tested positive last week. All are in isolation at their respective homes.

“I think we’re going to start seeing more across the state – maybe related to this conference, but I think we’re going to start seeing more from other exposures as well,” state health officials said Tuesday during a press conference with Cooper.

“We are making no recommendations about canceling anything,” Cooper said of events, although he does recommend separating people as much as possible and to keep sanitizer on hand.

State officials said they are not planning to cancel schools at this time over the virus, as children appear to be at low risk. Closures may be recommended to sanitize a facility for any reason, including if a positive case is tied to a facility.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is suspending all field-trip travel due to coronavirus concerns. With this announcement, all district-sponsored trips of any kind for staff or students are suspended for now, school officials say.

“This situation is rapidly changing," state officials said. "Today we are not recommending any preemptive school closure.”

Chief of Staff of Emergency Management says the state of emergency operations center is being activated.

“It could be months,” health officials said regarding how long this virus could stick around.

As part of the state of emergency, health officials are recommending anyone at high risk - those 65-years and older, those with underlying health issues or compromised immune systems - avoid events and gatherings with large crowds and any air travel.

In South Carolina, seven people have also tested positive for coronavirus. Health officials say one of the seven people from South Carolina flew into Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.

Any returning traveler, both internationally and domestic, should do self-monitoring, state officials say. Those that experience any fever or lower-respiratory symptoms are asked to contact their medical provider.

North Carolinians with questions or concerns about COVID-19 can call the COVID-19 phone line toll-free at 866-462-3821. This helpline is staffed by the North Carolina Poison Control 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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