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Officials: Second Person In NC Diagnosed With Coronavirus

An illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the structure of coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAM
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Updated 10:32 a.m. March 6, 2020

A second person in North Carolina has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

A man from Chatham County traveled back to the state from an area in Italy that now has a COVID-19 outbreak. While in Italy, he had two days of flu-like symptoms. When his symptoms improved, he flew back to the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to identify passengers on the flight he was on who might have been at risk of contracting the virus. The man is doing well and is in isolation at home.


On Tuesday, a Wake County man was diagnosed returning from Washington State where 10 people have died from the disease.


The Wake County man was not symptomatic when he travelled on a plane from Washington State to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's possible that the new virus can be transmitted before symptoms appear, but that's not believed to be the main way it spreads. Federal officials announced Wednesday they are contacting all travellers who were on the same flight with the individual.


The North Carolina man visited so•ca restaurant in Raleigh last Saturday. In a post on social media, the restaurant said it provided a list of all patrons who may have come in contact with the man to the Wake County Health Department, and that they have bleached and sanitized the restaurant ahead of a professional cleaning. 


State Health Director Elizabeth Tilson says testing for the coronavirus is underway across the state, but would not specify where or how many people are being tested. At least a thousand more testing kits from the CDC should arrive by next week. 


Businesses and public offices are preparing for the possible spread of the disease in the Triangle area and across the state: 

  • On Thursday, the Wake County court system announced it will conduct hearings via video conference if necessary. 
  • Raleigh-based software company Red Hat is changing its annual tech summit to a virtual event. The event was originally scheduled to be held in person in San Francisco late next month.
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has expanded university affiliated travel restrictions to Washington State, California and Japan. Both Washington and California are under a state of emergency as cases of COVID-19 increase. The university has travel restrictions in place for China, South Korea, Iran and Italy. Duke and Elon Universities have similar travel restrictions in place. 
  • The International Festival of Raleigh canceled its event scheduled for this weekend. 

To prevent the spread of the disease, the CDC recommends that individuals:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Here are more tips from the CDC to protect yourself and others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
Celeste Gracia covers the environment for WUNC. She has been at the station since September 2019 and started off as morning producer.
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