Mecklenburg County to give update on those being monitored for coronavirus

CHARLOTTE — One week ago, Channel 9 broken the news that Mecklenburg County health officials were monitoring four people for coronavirus. Friday, the health department is expected to provide an update on how those four people are doing and what steps the county is taking to keep people protected.

The health department stressed there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mecklenburg County or in North Carolina and the threat is still considered very low.

The four people were not in China’s Hubei province, the center of the outbreak where the most deaths and confirmed cases have occurred.

Individuals from the most affected province in China are being routed to locations for a 14-day quarantine, while others from China are being assessed at the airport and are considered medium risk. If they don’t have symptoms, they are sent home for a voluntary quarantine.

It is then the health department’s job to monitor those people for 14 days from their last possible exposure. Mecklenburg County was notified they are receiving four of these individuals Friday.

Mecklenburg County communicable disease staffers are in contact with the four people.

It is unclear who the people being monitored are and what part of China they traveled from.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said there is no one with coronavirus in the state. NCDHHS said the federal government is recommending self-monitoring with public health supervision for all travelers returning from mainland China, excluding Hubei Province, who have been screened at one of 11 airports and found to have no symptoms.

Impacted travelers in North Carolina are receiving written instructions from their local health department on how to monitor for symptoms and limit the potential spread of the infection, according to NCDHHS.

NCDHHS is not disclosing the number of people being monitored for coronavirus.

Catawba, Cabarrus, Union, and Rowan counties are also monitoring people for the virus. Right now, none of them are showing symptoms. They will all be monitored for 14 days.

Earlier Friday, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena R. Diorio sent the following email to the Board of County Commissioners from Health Director Gibbie Harris:

"Good evening, I have been communicating with Gibbie over the past week to stay up to date on the changing guidance and issues regarding the Novel Coronavirus. To date, we have had no confirmed cases in North Carolina. Our staff are in constant contact with the North Carolina State Department of Public Health (NC DPH) and engaged in calls with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other large health departments who are currently dealing with cases and with our Mecklenburg County partners. We continue to adjust our plans for response based on the guidance from the CDC and NC DPH.

"Although the individuals coming from the most affected province in China are being routed to locations for 14-day quarantine, others coming from China are being assessed at the airport of arrival and are considered to be at medium risk of developing the infection or infecting others. If found to be without symptoms they are being sent on to their home destination for voluntary quarantine. The Health Department in that jurisdiction will be notified, will contact each individual with information and guidance, and will monitor for 14 days from last possible exposure.

"Mecklenburg County Public Health has been notified that we will be receiving four of these individuals today. Our Communicable Disease staff have been in contact with them, the appropriate document for them has been signed by the Health Director and the monitoring has begun.

"As I mentioned we have no confirmed cases at this point. It is our intent not to speak to the media or others about those being monitored or investigated. We want to assure that the community has the information it needs to be safe and protect themselves and others. There is information on our County homepage that is being updated regularly and at MeckHealth.org. However, we want to avoid unwarranted concern. Our area is still considered to have a very low risk for this novel virus.

“I will continue to keep you informed as this situation continues to evolve. Dena R. Diorio”

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