- On March 16, 2020
Note: We want to share important information with you as efficiently as possible. Going forward, we will combine all COVID-19-related updates into one news release each day. This news release will be emailed to you around 5 p.m. We will send additional news releases in some circumstances.
The Wake County Public Health Division is investigating one new positive case of COVID-19. This brings the total number of positive cases in Wake County to 15.
Using contact tracing, the county is working to confirm who may have come in close contact with the affected person and what their risk of exposure might be. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines “close contact” as being within six feet of the patient for 10 minutes or more.
“Our public health team is working to create a timeline for this resident, so we know where they went and when,” said Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald. “Once we have that information, we can evaluate the level of risk of those who came in close contact with them.”
Testing by the Numbers
Providing an accurate number of tests taken at any given time is challenging, because sample are processed by multiple laboratories, including the State Laboratory of Public Health, LabCorp and UNC. Other locations may come online in the future.
The county doesn’t have access to the number of tests LabCorp is processing each day, but does track samples submitted to the State Lab. However, in both cases, positive results are reported to the local Public Health Division.
“We understand that the public wants to know what our testing picture looks like,” said Dr. McDonald. “Although it’s challenging to provide accurate point-in-time figures for the number of tests in process and the number of tests completed daily, we’re committed to sharing the best information available to help our residents better understand the situation and our response efforts.”
As of March 16 at 3 p.m., Wake County Public Health has submitted 65 tests for coronavirus, and has received 44 back. Of those, 15 were positive and 29 were negative for COVID-19. The county is still waiting on the results of 21 tests.
Media should contact LabCorp for similar numbers from private sector tests.
Food Distribution Sites
With the announcement of school closures through at least March 27, many residents have reached out with concerns about food access options throughout Wake County during these unprecedented times.
Thanks to a partnership with Wake County Public Schools, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Wake County Center and local partners, a plan is now in place to ensure that families will have access to healthy meals while school is not in session.
Families can visit one of 27 schools and community centers serving as food distribution sites starting Tuesday, March 17. Volunteers will hand out food at the curb, and everything will be in safe and sanitized containers to minimize safety concerns. The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Mobile Market will offer food to all community members at several locations.
More details are available here.
Social distancing is a public health strategy that prevents close contact between people with the aim to reduce opportunities for disease transmission.
Tactics that people can use to support social distancing include maintaining six feet of space between each other when in public and avoiding events with large numbers of people. The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19 so it is contained as much as possible and there’s less strain on our healthcare system to care for sick people. More information and further explanation are available here.
Although your risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, the county’s public health team encourages you to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:
- Wash your hands.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay away from sick people.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Stay home if you’re sick and don’t send sick children to school or childcare.
Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19.You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19. The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.