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Wake County resident who tested positive for coronavirus traveled through RDU airport

The first person to test positive for the coronavirus in North Carolina is a man from Wake County.

Joe Fisher of WRAL tweeted Wednesday that the Wake County health department is treating the case as an "isolated incident" and the risk to the county at large is low. Health officials are reaching out to people who came within six feet of the man for more than 10 minutes between Feb. 25 and March 3, Fisher reported.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday afternoon that the patient is “doing well” and “in isolation at home,” according to a news release. The individual recently traveled to Washington State, the site of a recent outbreak, and spent time at a long-term care facility. North Carolina Laboratory of Public Health conducted the coronavirus-positive test, which has yet to be confirmed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab.

The man traveled from Washington to Raleigh-Durham International Airport Feb. 22, according to ABC11. He was not exhibiting symptoms at that time. Officials are attempting to identify the other passengers on the flight and test them for the virus.

There have been more than 100 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, 27 of which have been confirmed in Washington, according to the Washington Post.

“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure North Carolinians our state is prepared,” Cooper said. “Our task force and state agencies are working closely with local health departments, health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur.”

Editor's note: This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to include information about the Wake County health department response. It was updated 6:25 p.m. Tuesday to include that the man had been on a flight to RDU.

This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

Stefanie Pousoulides | Investigations Editor

Stefanie Pousoulides is The Chronicle's Investigations Editor. A senior from Akron, Ohio, Stefanie is double majoring in political science and international comparative studies and serves as a Senior Editor of The Muse Magazine, Duke's feminist magazine. She is also a former co-Editor-in-Chief of The Muse Magazine and a former reporting intern at PolitiFact in Washington, D.C.


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