SC man who tested positive for coronavirus flew through Charlotte Douglas, officials say

SC man who tested positive for coronavirus flew through Charlotte Douglas, officials say

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — A South Carolina resident who tested positive for coronavirus flew through the Charlotte Douglas International Airport on his way home from Italy last week, according to an airport spokesperson.

Officials said, “the resident was asymptomatic and at that time was not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus.”

Authorities at Charlotte Douglas would not say when the plane landed, but the South Carolina man flew into the airport before heading back to his home state.

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The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released the following statement:

“The fourth new case is a man from Spartanburg County with no known connection, at this time, to any of the other presumptive positive cases. He is not hospitalized and is currently isolated at home. He had recently traveled to Italy, and returned to the U.S. through the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. He had no symptoms until the day after he returned and he had not traveled to any other U.S. airport, therefore, we don’t have reason to believe there was any risk to airport patrons.”

The Charlotte Douglas spokesperson said the airport is working closely to monitor the situation with Mecklenburg County Public Health, but health officials said they do not believe there is a risk to the airport or the Charlotte area.

The CDC has not recommended follow-ups with other travelers that may have come into contact with the South Carolina resident because he was not showing symptoms at the time, according to health director Gibbie Harris.

Airport officials called the situation “fluid” and said they are working closely with local health officials while also taking measures at the airport such as deep cleaning the terminal public areas every night and daily cleaning seating, handrails and elevators.

They are also doing an “electrostatic” cleaning of restrooms in the terminal overnight daily.

Harris said because of the large number of people flying in and out of Charlotte-Douglas, things could change in Mecklenburg County, but reminded the public that there is no need for panic.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Harris said the Charlotte community is an active one and it is unlikely we will get out of this without any cases, but it is important to not panic and follow the basic steps to protect yourself.

“I think panic could make for real challenges in our community,” Harris said.

County health officials added the department has more coronavirus tests, but it is limited so they are not recommending testing for people who do not have symptoms. Eighty percent of people who have coronavirus have mild symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized; those who are at higher risk are over 70 years old with underlying health conditions.

A source told Channel 9 the county is suspending all nonessential business air travel due to the virus.

There have two confirmed coronavirus cases in North Carolina, in Wake and Chatham counties. There are no cases in Mecklenburg County.

There are seven cases in South Carolina -- five in Kershaw County, one in Spartanburg County, and one in Charleston County.

Officials said the risk to the general public is low. They’re pointing people to the county’s website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Division of Public Health for the latest information.

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