Cabarrus County resident presumed positive for COVID-19

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, March 12, 2020

By Liz Moomey

KANNAPOLIS — The first presumptive case of COVID-19 has been identified in a Cabarrus County resident, according to the Cabarrus Health Alliance, the county’s health department.

Cabarrus Health Alliance said it was notified of the case on Thursday, but the resident was tested on Wednesday. The North Carolina State Lab for Public Health is doing further testing to confirm if it is a COVID-19 infection, which may take up to 48 hours.

The individual self-reported symptoms after returning from international travel.

“We are completing a thorough investigation with this patient’s full cooperation to mitigate potential community spread,” said Cabarrus Health Alliance Interim Public Health Director Erin Shoe.

The Cabarrus Health Alliance would not share where the resident traveled, the person’s age and the city in Cabarrus County where the person lives because it would be identifying information. Though, the alliance said the person’s household is following health official guidance and will remain under a temporary, monitored quarantine until cleared.

“CHA staff is working closely with the individual to identify close contacts outside the home who may be affected. Authorities will work to give prompt notification to those who fall under the guidelines for additional monitoring and testing,” a news release said.

Tamara Staehler, the alliance’s communicable disease nurse supervisor, and the agency’s team began planning for the local impact of COVID-19 weeks ago, a news release said.

“This is something that is a long-term event,” Staehler said. “We’re prepared for that.”

While the resident is being tested, Staehler said health officials still encourage people to follow the same precautions: good hygiene and social distancing, especially for people age 65 or older or with an underlying medical condition.

For those who are worried they have contracted COVID-19, Staehler recommended going to a primary care or the local health department.

“At this time, we are only looking at testing people that are symptomatic,” Staehler said.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath, which may appear two-14 days after exposures, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Staehler’s message was to “stay calm and wash their hands.”

Other preparations include:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating

• Be sure to wash after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol)

• Avoid contact with sick people; stay home when you are sick

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard the tissue

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces