Health Department Preparing for Possible Coronavirus Cases in Mecklenburg County

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – We’re learning more about Mecklenburg County’s plan to fight the coronavirus.

On Wednesday night, County Health Director Gibbie Harris told commissioners her department is preparing now, because it’s likely we will see cases here.

Harris says people in Mecklenburg County have been tested for coronavirus in recent weeks, but all those test came back negative.

Doctors can request kits, but they have to be sent to the state lab in Raleigh for testing.

“The challenge with this virus is, it’s a novel virus. It’s brand new. No one has any immunity to it,” Harris says.

North Carolina already has one positive case, in Wake County.

The patient traveled to Washington State and was exposed at a long-term care facility where there is currently and outbreak and several people have died.

Harris says while anyone can catch the coronavirus, 80 percent of people who get it only have symptoms similar to a cold.

“The folks who have been most ill from this have underlying health conditions or the elderly,” she says.

Anyone confirmed to have it in Mecklenburg County will be put in isolation, at home or in the hospital, until they test negative for the virus twice, at least 24 hours apart.

You should also consider avoiding travel to cities and counties that have seen outbreaks.

“So if you go for a two week vacation, you may be out of work for four weeks. Just something for people to think about,” Harris says.

On Thursday, the county will open a Coronovirus hotline. People who think they might have symptoms or have questions can call: 980-314-9400