Wake County Continues Investigating Timeline of Ninth Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Case

The Wake County Public Health Division continues to investigate who may have been in close contact with a resident who tested presumptively positive for COVID-19 on March 14. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is running a second test to confirm these results.

The CDC defines “close contact” as being within six feet of the patient for at least 10 minutes.

“From the procedures we’ve put in place for other presumptive positive cases, we are able to more efficiently track the movements of the individual to identify exposure risks,” said Wake County Medical Director, Dr. Kim McDonald. “We are actively reaching out and assessing those who have been in close contact with this person to support our efforts to contain the virus within our community.”

Timeline
Through conversations with the patient, the county has assembled a timeline of their movements prior to entering isolation at home.

The individual attended the Biogen conference in Boston, Massachusetts, during the last week in February. More than two dozen conference attendees in other states have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

They started showing mild symptoms on Feb. 24. The CDC says COVID-19 is most likely to be transmitted when the patient is symptomatic.

During this time, the patients visited several locations, but those that have the potential for increased exposure include:

Feb. 24 & March 2
Biogen, 5000 Davis Drive, Research Triangle Park.

The individual worked remotely for the majority of time after the onset of symptoms but did visit Biogen facilities periodically between these dates. Wake County continues to work with the company to identify any employees who were in close contact.

Feb. 29
Optimus Park Raleigh – Early Voting location

The individual went to vote early in the Primary Election at Optimus Park. Wake County Public Health has the names of the elections officials and are working with them to further assess the risk of exposure at this location. 

March 2–5
Traveled to and returned from Logan International Airport from Raleigh-Durham International Airport. If you were on a flight and determined to be at risk, a public health official from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will contact you directly.

Public health officials are working to identify people who may have been at risk at the above locations. They believe there is little risk to anyone who came in contact with the patient at any other locations since they were not symptomatic or in close contact with others. Because these are not locations of concern, Wake County is not releasing their names. 

Risk Assessment
The public health team is assessing the risk of each person who was in close contact with the patient 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 patient.
     
  • 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.
     

Protecting Yourself
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.

     

Staying Updated
Wake County continues to work to keep you updated on the latest information about COVID-19.

You can visit our bilingual COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to help educate residents in English and Spanish. You can also email us questions at covid19.questions@wakegov.com, or you can call our COVID-19 information line at 919-856-7044. The county is also sharing important information on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Press Release