WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — A man in North Carolina has tested positive for novel coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, according to the governor’s office.
Officials said he is from Wake County and had traveled to Washington state, and was exposed to a long-term care facility there at the center of an outbreak.
Channel 9 learned the man traveled through the Raleigh-Durham airport on February 22 and was not experiencing symptoms at the time.
“Local health department officials are working to identify who else may have been exposed, to help contain the spreading," Gov. Roy Cooper said.
Officials said the patient in North Carolina is doing well and is in isolation at home.
“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared,” Cooper said. “Our task force and state agencies are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur.”
The airport said that based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, there was no identifiable risk from this case to other travelers.
According to Atrium Health, although this case was in Raleigh, they expect Charlotte to get hit sooner or later and said they are ready.
“A lot of it is what we do every flu season," said Dr. Catherine Passaretti, with Atrium Health.
Passaretti is the medical director of infection prevention at Atrium Health. She said no one should panic over the new virus.
Passaretti said people can protect themselves by frequent hand washing, staying three to six feet away from others who are sick and giving up handshakes at least for now.
She also encouraged people with flu-like symptoms to stay away from elderly people and avoid hospitals and waiting rooms if possible.
“Virtual care or E visits are a great opportunity to get great medical care without having to wait in waiting rooms," said Passaretti.
She also said the hospital is ready if they get a surge of people with flu-like symptoms. New viruses come and go and you have to always be prepared, she added.
Charlotte-Douglass Airport is also preparing for the coronavirus, and said it is working with county and stay health officials.
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Nine people have died in Washington state, and most were residents of a nursing home in suburban Seattle.
Local health officials are identifying the North Carolina man’s close contacts, monitoring symptoms and working to contain the spread.
The presumptive positive test was conducted by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health and will be confirmed by the U.S. CDC.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department said Wednesday there were no confirmed cases in the county.
County officials announced that there is a new 24-hour coronavirus hotline that will begin Thursday: 980-314-9400.
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