CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the first coronavirus-related deaths.
The first patient was from Cabarrus County and died Tuesday. Officials said the patient was in their late 70s, which is a high-risk group, and had several underlying medical conditions.
The second person who died was from Virginia, in their 60s, and was traveling through the county.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “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.”
Channel 9 spoke to the family of the man who died in Cabarrus County. They said their biggest regret was not being able to say goodbye before he died.
Landon Spradlin and his wife were on their way home from a mission trip in New Orleans when he collapsed. He was taken to a hospital in Concord, where he tested positive for COVID-19.
Spradlin was put on a ventilator and his health took a bad turn Tuesday night. His daughter, Judah Strickland, rushed to the hospital.
“I said, ‘Look, I haven’t seen my dad in almost six weeks. Please let me go see him.’ And she said, ‘Look, under any other circumstances we would, but this is uncharted territory for us,’" said Strickland.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Strickland wasn’t able to say goodbye to her father.
Her mother is quarantined and showing symptoms, but so far has tested negative for COVID-19.
Health officials have not released any other information about the patients.
Cabarrus County saw confirmed cases of coronavirus climb from nine Tuesday to 18 on Wednesday.
The NCDHHS recommends those who are at high risk of contracting coronavirus should stay home as much as possible.
People who are considered “high risk” include anyone who is 65 years of age or older, lives in a nursing home, has an underlying health condition or has a compromised immune system.
In North Carolina, there are 636 total cases of coronavirus, officials said.
Elected officials with Cabarrus County, the cities of Concord and Kannapolis, and the towns of Harrisburg, Midland and Mount Pleasant announced a Stay at Home Proclamation for residents that will take effect March 26 at 5 p.m.
The Proclamation requires residents to remain in their homes and limits mass gatherings to groups of 10 or fewer.
The Proclamation coincides with Wednesday’s North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announcement that a person from Cabarrus County died on March 24 from complications associated with the virus. The patient was in their late 70s and had several underlying medical conditions. A second person in their 60s, who was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications in Cabarrus County.
The Stay at Home Proclamation also supports local State of Emergency declarations signed by the same jurisdictions last week and ongoing decisions to limit mass gatherings.
What the Stay at Home Proclamation means for you
The Stay at Home Proclamation is designed to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The Proclamation directs residents to shelter at home and limit travel outside the home beyond handling specific essential needs. County leaders will continually review the Proclamation, and it may be revised or extended based on recommendations from the Cabarrus Health Alliance and Cabarrus County Emergency Management.
According to the Proclamation, Cabarrus residents should stay at their homes, but can leave to “provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and governmental services.”
Essential businesses or operations include healthcare and public health operations, human services operations, essential government functions and essential infrastructure. All these functions are fully outlined in the Proclamation.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Visiting a healthcare professional for medical services that cannot be provided virtually
- Caring for a friend or family member
- Walking pets; visiting a veterinarian
- Assisting with getting supplies for another person
- Going to a restaurant for take-out or delivery
- Going to a pharmacy for medications and other healthcare needs
- Receiving deliveries from any delivery business
- Going to grocery, convenience or warehouse stores
- Exercising outdoors, while maintaining the recommended social distancing of a minimum of six feet.
- Going to work, unless you fall under the essential services outlined in the Proclamation
- Visiting family and friends without having an urgent need to do so
- Traveling, except when for permissible activities
- Gathering in groups
Practicing responsible actions; maintaining Proclamation
“The Stay at Home Proclamation does not keep you away from the goods and services that you rely on,” said Cabarrus County Emergency Manager Bobby Smith. “It calls attention to the seriousness of our COVID-19 recommendations. This is a time for our community to take responsibility to limit contact, practice social distancing and follow hand-washing and sanitation guidelines.”
Concord and Kannapolis police departments and Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office are tasked with enforcing the Stay at Home Proclamation. Their officers will manage this through voluntary compliance, education, dialogue and cooperation from the community. The departments encourage continued voluntary cooperation from the community. They will not actively identify violations, but will investigate all reported violations and exercise their authority to issue citations and/or make misdemeanor arrests if all efforts for voluntary cooperation are exhausted.
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