UPDATED: North Carolina reports first two coronavirus deaths; cases climb to 502

Coronavirus map from N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, 3-25-20

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting the first COVID-19 associated deaths.

A person from Cabarrus County died on March 24 from complications associated with the virus. The patient was in their late 70s and had several underlying medical conditions. A second person in their 60s, from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications. The man, identified as Landon Spradlin, 66, by the Danville Register and Bee, is from Gretna, Virginia and was hospitalized and tested positive in Concord, North Carolina, while traveling home from New Orleans.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. This is a stark warning that for some people COVID-19 is a serious illness. All of us must do our part to stop the spread by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

As of March 25, there were 502 people across North Carolina with coronavirus, with nearly 12,000 tests complete statewide. Dare County reported its first case on Wednesday. Dare officials responded to an OBXToday.com Freedom of Information Act request, which cited North Carolina’s open records law, by saying there are not records related to our request.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection. On March 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated who is at high risk for severe illness. People at high risk include anyone who:

— Is 65 years of age or older
— Lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
— Has a high-risk condition that includes:
chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
heart disease with complications
compromised immune system
severe obesity – body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease

In addition, pregnant women should be monitored closely since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness. However, data so far on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness in pregnant women. While children are generally at lower risk for severe infection, some studies indicate a higher risk among infants.

Governor Cooper has taken several actions to protect the health of North Carolinians, including ordering all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close through May 15th, banning gatherings of more than 50 people, limiting bars and restaurants to only take-out or delivery service, restricting visitors to long-term care facilities, and promoting social distancing by closing businesses like movie theaters, gyms, nail salons, and several others.

For more information and additional guidance, please visit the NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

About Kari Pugh 1074 Articles
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