RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — One person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Wake County, health officials said Tuesday.
In a news release, Cooper said the patient is currently at home in isolation.
“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared,” Cooper said in a written statement. “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.”
Officials said the patient contracted the virus after visiting a nursing home in Seattle, Wash., that is linked to seven deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
WATCH: Governor Cooper and Coronavirus Task Force discuss first case in Wake County
North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen said in a news conference that the patient flew on a plane from Washington to Wake County. Cohen said officials are working to learn who was on that flight and will check those passengers for signs of the coronavirus.
Cooper said local health officials are identifying other close contacts of the patient to monitor symptoms and contain the spread of the illness.
During the news conference, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Tilson said most people who develop coronavirus symptoms do not have major complications from the disease.
“What we are finding is that for COVID-19, the vast majority of people–more than 80 percent–have minor symptoms,” Tilson said.
Currently, the World Health Organization reports the global mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4 percent. But Tilson said she expects that number will drop over time.
“Older people, with underlying health conditions, seem to be at higher risk,” Tilson said. “We see that children seem to fair very well. Only about 1 percent of the cases have been identified in children and seem to fair very well.”
The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health announced Tuesday that laboratory technicians could perform testing for the virus in house, which would allow health officials to take swift action against any cases of the virus, specifically known as COVID-19.
Any positive tests would still require confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, per Food and Drug Administration requirements.
Cohen said the current case has not yet been confirmed by the CDC, but North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will treat all presumptive cases as positive cases to limit the potential spread of infection.
“We have been identifying potential cases since late January,” Cohen said during the news conference. “All of them have been negative to date. This is our first positive, and we will continue, I’m sure, to see additional cases of folks who maybe travelled, had contact with someone who had COVID-19, and we will continue to test them as we have before.”
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
“The health and well-being of North Carolinians is my top priority, and I’m working to make sure Congress comes together on a bipartisan basis to provide billions of dollars in federal assistance to combat the coronavirus and protect North Carolinians. I’m in close communication with Vice President Pence and other federal leaders, and I will do everything I can to continue supporting our state’s medical institutions, universities, and health care systems, which are some of the best in the world and have a proven track record in treating infectious diseases.”
So far, 60 cases and nine deaths have been reported in the United States, according to the CDC. Thirteen states have reported cases.
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