N.C. official coronavirus case count climbs to 23; two cases now reported along coast

Illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

North Carolina’s official count of coronavirus COVID-19 cases climbed to 23 Saturday morning, with state Department of Health officials reporting all are in the central part of the state.

Not on Saturday’s state list are two cases along the coast, one in Craven County and the other in Brunswick County.

In a statement on Saturday afternoon, Craven County officials said they have confirmed their COVID-19, a man who returned from international travel. He became symptomatic and had a negative flu test. He was tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 11, and confirmation of positive COVID-19 test results were received at the Craven County Health Department on Saturday, March 14 from the North Carolina State Lab. The individual has been in isolation at home since he was tested on Wednesday.

“We believe this was brought to Craven County from abroad. We do not believe this was a community acquired transmission,” stated Scott Harrelson, Craven County Health Director.

In a statement Saturday morning, Brunswick County officials said they received information late Friday evening identifying the first presumptive positive case. The results have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory for final confirmation.

“The individual is in self-isolation at home and is doing well. Brunswick County Health Services team members are monitoring the individual during their self-isolation and are identifying any close contacts to monitor symptoms and contain potential spread,” the statement said.

The individual traveled to Louisiana, where they became symptomatic while there, and was still symptomatic on their return to Brunswick County.

“The individual agreed to self-isolation after taking the test and has remained at home since that time. There is one adult contact in the home who has been self-quarantining with the individual and neither has direct contact with children,” the statement read.

The N.C. Department of Health on Saturday morning reported 22 presumptive cases, with one Centers for Disease Control confirmed positive. The health department reported the cases are in the Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem areas.

As of Friday, March 13, Dare County officials reported no coronavirus cases in the county. Large gatherings have been canceled. Schools remain open, but all extracurricular activities are canceled and school facilities are closed to any type of gathering.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com