RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina now has 15 presumptive cases of COVID-19 “with more expected,” according to Gov. Roy Cooper. The number of cases across the country has reached 938.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said early Thursday that the state had 12 presumptive cases. But a short time later, health officials in Mecklenburg County announced two cases. The number reached 15 by Cooper’s 4 p.m. press conference.
WBTV reports Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said one case is potentially related to out of country travel.
The other coronavirus case may be related to out of state travel.
“We are now in a situation where we could potentially have community spread,” Harris said.
Along with the two Mecklenburg County cases, two are in Forsyth County with eight being in Wake County, one in Chatham County and one in Johnston County.
“This is not a surprise,” said Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson. “It’s likely that more individuals will test presumptively positive for the virus.”
Johnston County officials said the patient traveled multiple places and upon returning home. Those locations were not released.
Health officials are actively monitoring 84 contacts while 259 travelers have completed monitoring, NCDHHS said.
Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, NCDHHS said three people died in the last week from the flu – a drop from previous weeks. A total of 134 people have died from flu-related complications this season.
Since the beginning of 2020, only one week has passed with fewer than 10 flu deaths in North Carolina.
Thirty-nine states have reported cases and a total of 32 people have died due to COVID-19.
The first case of COVID-19 was identified on March 3. Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on March 10.
Five of North Carolina’s cases have been linked to a meeting of executives with Biogen, a company based in Cambridge, next to Boston, that develops therapies for neurological diseases, state officials said.
Massachusetts has one of the nation’s largest clusters of the virus after Washington state, California and New York.
The coronavirus outbreak has forced unprecedented changes and cancellations across the country and world.
President Donald Trump announced a travel ban for continental Europe for 30 days.
The restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and there would be exemptions for “Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings,” the president said.
U.S. will monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.
John Hopkins Univerity reports 127,820 cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of Thursday morning. Nearly 81,000 of those cases are in China and 1,323 in the U.S.
The University said 4,717 people have died due to COVID-19.
CBS 17 will update this story.
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