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Four first responders test positive for COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County has declared a state of emergency
Mecklenburg County has declared a state of emergency(wbtv)
Updated: Apr. 4, 2020 at 12:29 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Officials announced Friday that four Mecklenburg County first responders have tested positive for the coronavirus, while 41 other first responders are in quarantine.

These first responders include two officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, one ambulance worker with Mecklenburg EMS and one firefighter with Charlotte Fire Department.

Officials say 14 CMPD employees are quarantined, 13 CFD employees are quarantined and 14 Mecklenburg EMS workers are quarantined.

“The County and City have been prepared for this possibility as our first responders have a difficult job that requires them to place their lives on the line to protect the public. We owe them and their family a debt of gratitude and we wish them a speedy recovery” said Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director.

Officials say public safety agencies have placed several preventive measures to keep frontline responders safe.

As of Friday afternoon, 601 Mecklenburg County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with three deaths reported. Officials say there are cases in every zip code in the county.

Atrium and Novant Health systems have asked Mecklenburg County and its partners to build a mass care field hospital to treat as many as 3,000 additional COVID-19 patients during the anticipated surge of the virus. The hospital would be set up on the UNC Charlotte campus.

WATCH LIVE: More than 550 people have coronavirus in Mecklenburg County

WATCH LIVE | MECK COUNTY UPDATE: More than 550 people have coronavirus in Mecklenburg County. On Thursday, leaders from Atrium and Novant asked the county to build a mass care facility to treat up to 3,000 potential COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks » https://bit.ly/3dQYoUv #coronavirus #COVID19

Posted by WBTV News on Friday, April 3, 2020

On Thursday, health officials announced the third coronavirus-related death in Mecklenburg County.

County officials made the announcement on Twitter. Details about the patient’s age or any possible underlying health issues was not released.

Officials announced the first death in the county on March 29.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said the first individual was a 60-year-old Mecklenburg County resident with an underlying health condition.

Harris said the person was hospitalized at the time of the death.

“Our sympathy and thoughts go out to this individual’s family,” Harris said. “This first death of a Mecklenburg County resident due to COVID-19 emphasizes the importance to stay at home and away from others to stop the spread of this virus.”

Harris said it appears the individual was part of the community-spread virus in Mecklenburg County.

North Carolina health officials reported a total of 2,093 cases of coronavirus across 86 counties on Friday morning.

On Friday, state health officials said 19 deaths were reported, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). A 20th coronavirus-related death was announced in Catawba County on Friday.

Mecklenburg County has been under a local “stay at home” order since Thursday, March 26.

CMPD officers say residents’ compliance with the “stay at home” order will determine the restrictions and enforcement of the future.

Harris says the county has been using “social media influencers” during this pandemic to spread messages for certain Mecklenburg County populations and officials say it has been very effective.

“I want to reinforce to people to take our ‘state at home’ order seriously,” Harris said. “We are seeing evidence that people aren’t, both businesses and Individuals. I know there are people who are doing social distancing, and I want to thank them sincerely.”

Health officials are hoping people maintain social distancing and that they follow the orders.

The county offers steps that will slow the spread of COVID-19: include:

  • Comply with the Mecklenburg County Stay at Home Order
  • Follow proper physical/social distancing protocols by staying at least 6 feet away from others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds For additional questions about the Stay at Home Order, residents can call 704-353-1926 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The best resources for accurate, updated information for our community is the County’s website, MeckNC.gov/COVID-19, and the City of Charlotte’s website, charlottenc.gov/covid19, in addition to the CDC’s COVID-19 website, cdc.gov/coronavirus and State Division of Public Health’s website. *Charlotte-Mecklenburg Office of Emergency Management has activated the Joint Information Center in support of the Emergency Operations Center

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