CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A day after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning, the governor’s task force in North Carolina is pushing everyone to get prepared for a possible coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ve been preparing for the past month and a half. We’re preparing for today. We’ll be prepared tomorrow, so, I think it’s a hard thing to do. To say where and when so, the best thing we can do is be prepared for today,” said North Carolina State Health director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson.
There are still no confirmed cases in the Carolinas at this point, but local students studying abroad where cases are confirmed are now returning home as fast as they can.
Channel 9′s Susanna Black spoke with a college student from Charlotte, who got back into town from Italy around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Isaiah Boyd, a sophomore at New York University, was studying abroad at the school’s campus in Florence until he got an email from the school Monday.
He said in the email that leaders explained they were canceling classes and closing the campus until at least the end of March.
“As you probably know, the occurrence of coronavirus cases has climbed steeply in northern Italy,” the email read. “In response, the Italian government has been taking swift action to try to prevent its spread. Though there is no evidence of a pressing risk to the NYU Florence community, the past month has demonstrated that countries may swiftly and unexpectedly make decisions that can significantly affect one’s ability to travel.”
Boyd’s parents took action and quickly got him home. He boarded a flight from Italy to Amsterdam, then to Atlanta and finally Charlotte.
He said he’s now hearing from other students having trouble getting out of the country as flights continue to get canceled.
“I was actually extremely lucky because a lot of the flights today have just been super hectic. I had a friend who was actually about to get out of Florence five minutes before she boarded and her flight got canceled as she’s sitting there at the gate,” said Boyd.
Boyd is wondering where he will go from here. The email said the campus would be closed until March 2 and classes will be offered online through March 20.
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