Second person in NC has tested positive for COVID-19

Published 2:02 pm Saturday, March 7, 2020

A second North Carolina person, unrelated to the first case, has tested positive for novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

The test, conducted by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, is presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab. The person is said to be doing well and is in isolation at home.

A North Carolina man from Chatham County, which is west of Raleigh, traveled in late February to an area in Italy that now has a COVID-19 outbreak. He had two days of mild, flu-like symptoms while in Italy. Reportedly, his fever resolved and symptoms were improving, and he flew back to the United States the following day. This person was a contact to a case in Georgia and the Georgia Department of Health notified North Carolina health officials.

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Chatham County Public Health Department officials conducted a home visit and collected specimens, which came back presumptively positive the night of March 5. He has been cooperative and is in home isolation until follow-up tests are negative.

The Chatham County Public Health Department will work to identify close contacts to monitor symptoms. Since the person had been symptomatic before travel, the CDC will identify close contacts on the flight thought to be at risk and notify the appropriate public health agencies. To protect individual privacy, no further information about the identity of the person will be released.

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

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 precautions that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and covering coughs and sneezes.

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