North Carolina reports first deaths associated with COVID-19

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has reported the first deaths associated with COVID-19.

A person from Cabarrus County died on March 24 from complications associated with the virus. The patient was in their late seventies and had several underlying medical conditions, according to a press release from Governor Roy Cooper’s office. A second person in their sixties, who was from Virginia and was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications. To protect the families’ privacy, no further information about these patients will be released.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. This is a stark warning that for some people COVID-19 is a serious illness. All of us must do our part to stop the spread by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection. On March 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated who is at high risk for severe illness. People at high risk include anyone who:

– Is 65 years of age or older,

– Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility,

– Has a high-risk condition that includes:

  • chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • heart disease with complications
  • compromised immune system
  • severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
  • other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

In addition, pregnant women should be monitored closely since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness. However, data so far on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness in pregnant women. While children are generally at lower risk for severe infection, some studies indicate a higher risk among infants.

Cooper has ordered all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close through May 15, banned gatherings of more than 50 people, limited bars and restaurants to only take-out or delivery service, restricted visitors to long-term care facilities and is promoting social distancing by closing businesses like movie theaters, gyms, nail salons and several others.

For more information, visit the NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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