RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A person in North Carolina has tested positive for the fast-spreading coronavirus, the governor said Tuesday, making the state at least the 15th to report a case of the virus.
Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference that the person from Wake County tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling to Washington state and visiting a long-term care facility where a case of the disease was reported.
“The person is doing well and is in isolation at home,” Cooper said.
Mandy Cohen, the state’s secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, said the person returned to North Carolina on a plane and officials are informing others on the flight and working to trace other contacts the person may have had. She would not provide more details about the person and declined to say which North Carolina airport the person returned to.
North Carolina health officials conducted the test and are also sending a sample to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further confirmation.
The number of cases in the U.S. overall has risen past 100 in at least 15 states, with 27 in Washington. At least nine people have died.
“I know people are worried about this virus,” Cooper said. “And I want to ensure you that the state of North Carolina is prepared. Our most important work is keeping people healthy and safe.”
Public health and emergency management officials in the state have been meeting for several weeks, reviewing possible scenarios ranging from isolated cases to statewide outbreaks, state health director Dr. Elizabeth Tilson told reporters recently. Cooper formalized a COVID-19 task force three weeks ago, led by Tilson and state emergency management director Mike Sprayberry.
In 2009, Sprayberry said his agency helped operate a warehouse with medicine to deal with the H1N1 virus. The North Carolina National Guard distributed large portions of the H1N1 vaccine at that time, and likely would be called on to help with COVID-19.
“We’re helping develop plans so that based on whatever happens, we’ll be able to scale it up, scale it down quickly and aggressively,” he said.