National News

First coronavirus case in North Carolina linked to Seattle-area nursing home

Posted March 3, 2020 6:57 p.m. EST

From NC Office of Emergency Management

The first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in North Carolina is linked to a Seattle-area nursing home facility where five residents were sick and later died, authorities in the Tar Heel state said Tuesday.

The new patient is from Wake County, home to Raleigh and 1.1 million people. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the person was exposed at a center in Washington where there is a Covid-19 outbreak while on a trip.

That facility is the Life Care Center in Kirkland, northeast of Seattle, where county and federal officials are trying to determine how the disease got there and watching many of the more than 200 people who lived or worked there for signs of coronavirus.

Four Life Care residents died at a hospital and one died at a residence, officials said Tuesday.

The North Carolina resident's positive test has not been confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"The person is doing well and is in isolation at home," Cooper said. "I know people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure you that the state of North Carolina is prepared."

Health officials said they contact the person twice a day about the person's temperature and other health issues.

Health officials are tracing the person's travel from Washington, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state's secretary of health and human services, said. The investigation is just beginning, she said.

Wake County public health officials said the person traveled through Raleigh-Durham International Airport on February 22. The passenger "was not experiencing symptoms when they traveled through ... Based on CDC guidance, there was no identifiable risk from this case to other travelers," a state health department official said.

Cooper said North Carolinians should take the same preventative measures as for the flu, which killed 24 people in the state last week.

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