State of Emergency declared in North Carolina due to coronavirus
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency after five more cases of coronavirus were reported in Wake County, N.C., on Tuesday.
That brings to seven the number of cases in the state. Last week, cases were reported in Wake and Chatham counties.
The governor says his declaration will help speed necessary supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and encourages insurers to provide tests for little or no cost.
The Department of Health and Human Services says people in the high-risk category, those 65 years and older, should avoid large groups of people including concerts, conventions, church services, sporting events, and crowded social events.
DHHS also is asking facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities to limit visitors.
The state says right now, they are not recommending any school closures because of the coronavirus, nor cancellation of the ACC Tournament that begins Tuesday in Greensboro.
Five more people in Wake County have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. All traveled to Boston in late February to attend a BioGen conference.
Several cases of COVID-19 across the country have been tied to the conference. These cases are not related to the Wake County individual who tested positive last week. All are in isolation at their respective homes.
That brings the total cases to seven in NC. Six are in Wake County with the seventh in Chatham County.
The tests, conducted by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, are presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab.
While awaiting confirmation of results from the CDC, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.
The Wake County Public Health Division is already working to identify close contacts. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with a COVID-19 infection for a prolonged period of time. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.
Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
North Carolinians with questions or concerns about COVID-19 can call the COVID-19 phone line toll-free at 866-462-3821. This helpline is staffed by the North Carolina Poison Control 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.