Long-term care resident becomes Chatham County’s first COVID-19-related death


PITTSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – A Chatham County resident who recently tested positive for coronavirus has passed away, becoming the county’s first death related to the disease, officials said Tuesday.

The individual was a resident of The Laurels of Chatham Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

The resident had been “in declining health for some time” before testing positive for the virus, the facility said in a statement.

No further information about the resident will be released, county officials said.

“We are extremely saddened by the passing of a Chatham County resident due to this horrible virus,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long. “We extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the individual’s family, as well as the residents and staff of The Laurels.”

Chatham County has 75 of North Carolina’s 5,024 coronavirus cases.

“Today’s sad news is a stark reminder of how serious the virus is and that all Chatham County residents should remain vigilant in doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19,” added Long. 

The Laurels of Chatham recently reported the facility had an outbreak of COVID-19.

On April 10, it was announced that all residents and staff at The Laurels of Chatham were being tested for COVID-19.

Those tests came after six people associated with the facility tested positive for the virus earlier in that week.

A total of 57 positive tests were returned.

COVID-19 timeline

  • March 3: NCDHHS announces state’s first COVID-19 case
  • March 10: Gov. Roy Cooper declares State of Emergency
  • March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic
  • March 13: President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency
  • March 14: Cooper issues Executive Order 117 closing K-12 public schools until at least March 30 and banning gatherings of more than 100 people
  • March 16: NCDHHS recommends no mass gatherings for more than 50 people
  • March 17: Cooper issues Executive Order 118 limiting operations of restaurants and bars, and broadening unemployment insurance benefits
  • March 23: Cooper issues Executive Order 120 which closes public K-12 schools through May 15 and orders businesses such as barbershops and salons to close.
  • March 25: North Carolina reports its first coronavirus-related deaths
  • March 29: Trump extends social distancing orders through the end of April
  • March 31: Cooper signs Executive Order 124 which prohibits utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during the pandemic.
  • April 7: Cooper will sign executive orders limiting customers in retailers and offers child care assistance to certain workers
  • April 14: Coronavirus-related deaths top 100 in North Carolina
  • April 24: Cooper extends stay-at-home order to May 8
  • May 5: Cooper announces Phase One of reopening will being May 8

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