RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak in North Carolina.
“I know people are worried about this virus and I want to assure you that the state of North Carolina and your public health directors and emergency responders are working hard,” Cooper said.
As of Tuesday morning, there are seven presumptive cases of coronavirus in North Carolina. The CDC lab will confirm if the patients are positive for COVID-19.
“Right now, we have supplies to test 300 more people,” Cooper said.
Six of those are in Wake County, one in Chatham County. All are in isolation in their homes, according to Chris Kippes, Wake County Public Health Division director.
“Anyone can carry the virus to loved ones or friends who can become ill,” Cooper said.
The governor urged those in high-risk groups to avoid mass travel and large gatherings.
The CDC lists “older adults” and those with heart disease, diabetes and/or lung disease as high risk.
The CDC reports there are more than 400 COVID-19 cases across the U.S.:
- Total cases: 423
- Total deaths: 19
- States reporting cases: 35 (includes District of Columbia)
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the five new cases late Monday.
All traveled to Boston in late February to attend a conference for Biogen. There have been several COVID-19 cases from around the country tied to the conference, the NCDHHS said.
All five people are being isolated in their homes.
Earlier on Monday, health officials in Indiana said a person who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 8 was in Wake and Durham counties between March 2-6. That person was symptomatic while in North Carolina.
That person on March 1 flew from Indiana to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Then, on March 2, the patient began to show signs of upper respiratory symptoms while working at Biogen in Research Triangle Park. The patient then drove back to Indiana on March 6.
Before traveling to North Carolina, the patient attended a corporate conference in Boston during the last week of February. More than two dozen other conference attendees have also tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.
The Wake County Department of Health said the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low but the following steps can be performed to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness:
- Wash your hands.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay away from sick people.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home if you’re sick and don’t send sick children to school or childcare.