NCDHHS investigating possible case of coronavirus


Moss Brennan, Reporter

Update: Jan. 25, 2020

The North Carolina Division of Public Health announced the person being tested for coronavirus is not infected. Negative results was received from the CDC on Friday evening.

“We are pleased that test results were negative and that the patient remains in good health,” said Dr. Zack Moore, State Epidemiologist, in a press release. “We are working with CDC and local partners to be sure we are prepared to detect and respond to any possible cases that might occur in North Carolina in the future.”

Jan. 24, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday it is investigating a possible case of the coronavirus in North Carolina.

The individual recently traveled to to China and passed through Wuhan City, the origin of the outbreak, but did not visit the seafood and animal market that was linked to early cases, according to the press release.

The individual arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Thursday and presented with mild respiratory symptoms. The person is being cared for in isolation at Duke University Hospital and is currently in good condition.

The Division of Public Health is arranging for testing for coronavirus at the CDC. A diagnosis cannot be confirmed by NCDHHS at this time but they will update as soon as the results from the CDC are available, according to the press release.

“Although it is unlikely that this person was infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus, we are conducting testing out of an abundance of caution,” said Zack Moore, state epidemiologist in the press release. “If you haven’t traveled to Wuhan in the past two weeks, your risk of infection with this virus is very low.”

There are only two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States to date.

The person wore a mask while at the airport and did not have close contact with anyone after disembarking. The person was transported directly to the hospital from RDU for assessment.

Those who were at RDU at the same time are not considered at risk for infection. The DPH will work closely with the CDC and local partners to reach out to people who came in close contact with the person on the airline flight if the diagnosis is confirmed to be coronavirus.

Testing for the 2019 coronavirus is currently only available at the CDC. The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health is preparing to implement the CDC-developed test to detect novel coronavirus once it is distributed to state public health laboratories. Clinicians can arrange testing through local or state public health officials for those with signs of infection and recent travel to affected areas or contact with an infected person, according to the press release.

Travelers to Wuhan who develop a fever or respiratory symptoms, including cough and difficulty breathing, within 14 days of leaving Wuhan should contact their doctor immediately and call ahead before going to a clinic, urgent care or emergency room.

At this time of year, respiratory illness in people in North Carolina is most likely due to infection with influenza or viruses that cause the common cold. People should take precautions to protect themselves and others from these infections, including washing your hands, covering your cough, avoiding touching your face, and making sure you have gotten your annual flu shot, according to the press release.

For more information about 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit CDC’s website at