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 three additional positive cases of COVID-19. This brings the total number of positive cases in Wake County to 14, as of Sunday, March 15.
Using contact tracing, the county is working to confirm who may have come in close contact with the affected people 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.
Wake County encourages residents to follow the recommendations of the CDC and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
“Everyone can play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jose Cabanas, the county’s EMS director/medical director who is overseeing public health operations today in the Emergency Operations Center. “One of the most important things residents can do is practice social distancing—avoid crowded places and limit your contact with others.”
Through conversations with the recently affected individuals, the county has assembled a timeline of their movements prior to entering isolation at home.
The affected individuals started showing symptoms of COVID-19 between March 6 and 11. The CDC says COVID-19 is most likely to be transmitted when affected people are symptomatic.
On March 8, a resident flew to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Also on March 8, a resident attended the BrickUniverse Lego Fan Convention at the Raleigh Convention Center from 2–4 p.m. Anyone who was at the event during that time period is asked to call our COVID-19 information line at 919-856-7044.
Public health staff believe there is little risk to anyone who came in contact with the affected people at any other locations since they were not symptomatic or in close contact with others. Since these are not locations of concern, Wake County is not releasing their names.
If public health officials determine you are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, they will contact you directly. If a member of our team has not contacted you and you do not have any symptoms, you do not need to quarantine yourself or take precautions beyond washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home from school or work if you feel sick.
The public health team is assessing the risk of each person who was in close contact with any affected individuals and determining if quarantine and testing for COVID-19 are warranted.
The specific steps they take include:
- Interviewing the person to assess their exposure risk level. This includes understanding how close they were to the symptomatic people.
- Based on that assessment, public health staff determine which additional public health activities are required, such as temperature and symptom checks.
- If the person is put in quarantine and remains asymptomatic 14 days after exposure, they will be released from quarantine.
- If the person in quarantine develops symptoms, public health staff would assess the need for testing them for COVID-19.
- If the result is presumptive positive, the person is put in isolation. Once they become asymptomatic, they require two negative tests at least 24 hours apart to be released from isolation.
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.
Donations and Offers to Help
Many people are reaching out asking how they can help fight food insecurity while Wake County Public Schools are closed. The county is working on a joint effort with its partners to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents during this time and will share more information as plans are finalized.
In the meantime, both the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and Inter-Faith Food Shuttle have information available on how you can help them respond to this changing situation.
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.