The second case of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Craven County. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is an adult female who traveled out of state.
She became symptomatic and had a negative flu test. She was tested by a private provider for COVID-19 and confirmed positive COVID-19 on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The individual has been in isolation at home since symptom onset.
Craven County Health Department’s Communicable Disease staff is working to conduct contact tracing to make sure everyone who came into close contact with this individual is quarantined.
Close contact is anyone who was within six feet of the individual for 10 minutes or more. Contract tracing works by interviewing the individual to identify all places the person went while symptomatic and determining who the person came in close contact with.
For example, identifying those individuals can include talking to employers to identify employees the person came in close contact with as well as looking at store and restaurant cash receipts to see customers the person may have come into close contact with.
The Communicable Disease staff will make every effort to notify those they can identify who came into close contact with the person who tested positive and those individuals will be instructed to quarantine at home for 14 days.
The individual who had the first case of COVID-19 in Craven County is recovering and doing well. There have been no additional positive cases associated with this individual.
Residents who feel they are symptomatic and in need of testing need to call ahead to their primary care physician to receive instructions for how to proceed. Anyone who is symptomatic should not just present at a medical provider’s office without calling ahead first.
“Calling ahead to the medical providers allows them the opportunity to make alternative testing arrangements for the symptomatic person so that they are not potentially exposing others in the clinic to the symptomatic person,” stated Amber Parker, Craven County Public Information Officer.
There are other upper respiratory illnesses present locally, the seasonal flu and it is allergy season which can also produce similar symptoms. There is no data to support that Craven County has community transmission, the two confirmed cases in Craven County are travel-related.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services along with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have established requirements for who is eligible for COVID-19 testing. In order to be eligible for COVID-19 the following criteria must be met.
1. Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
2. Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test.
Once a patient arrives for testing they will first be given a rapid flu test to rule out the seasonal flu. If that rapid test is negative for seasonal flu the provider will administer a COVID-19 test. Once an individual is tested for COVID-19 they will be asked to go into isolation at home until test results are returned. Isolation means an individual is symptomatic and they will restrict themselves to one room and one bathroom of their home while avoiding all contact with others in their home. All close contacts of the individual, those who have been within six feet of the individual for 10 or more minutes will be placed into quarantine at home until the test results of the symptomatic person come back. Quarantine is when individuals who are not symptomatic are asked to remain at home and not have contact with others but they are not restricted to one room of their home.
At this time there are no approved treatments and no vaccine to prevent COVID-19; however, there are known methods to reduce and slow the spread of infection. Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes. Community-based interventions can also help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes measures collectively known as “social distancing.” Social distancing measures aim to reduce the frequency of contact and increase physical distance between persons, thereby reducing the risks of person-to-person transmission. These measures are most effective when implemented early in an epidemic. North Carolina is at a critical inflection point where we may have the opportunity to slow the spread of this epidemic by taking proactive steps now.
Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching or shaking hands), or through touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands. The best way to reduce your risk of becoming infected with a respiratory virus, such as COVID-19, is to practice good hygiene:
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
• People who are sick should always cover their coughs and sneezes using a tissue or the crook of their elbow; wash your hands after using a tissue to wipe your nose or mouth.
• People who are sick should stay home from work or school until they are well.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your unwashed hands.
Craven County citizens are encouraged to use reputable sources of information to learn more about coronavirus. Reputable sources of information include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NC Division of Public Health websites and the NC Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus call line 1-866-462-3821.
Craven County Government COVID-19 updates will appear on the Craven County website at www.cravencountync.gov, on the Craven County Facebook page @cravencounty and the Craven County Twitter account @cravencountync. Residents are also encouraged to register to receive notifications via the Craven County website and to register to receive emergency notifications via text, email and phone calls through the CodeRed Emergency Notification System.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health website at https://ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.