7 Likely Coronavirus Cases Reported In SC; Person With Disease Spent Time In NC Counties
Updated 9:30 p.m. March 9
South Carolina health officials say they identified four new likely cases of coronavirus Sunday and a fifth Monday, bringing the total number of cases reported in the state to seven — including a man who flew into Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Five of the cases are in Kershaw County northeast of Columbia.
Health officials in North Carolina, meanwhile, say a person who tested positive for the disease caused by the virus spent a few days in the Triangle area while symptomatic.
Two of the new cases involve people who came into direct contact with an elderly woman in Camden who South Carolina authorities announced Friday had a presumptive positive test for the virus.
The "presumptive positive" designation means someone has tested positive for COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus — at the state lab, but the results haven't yet been confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We now have evidence of community spread that’s likely to be causing these initial cases in Camden in Kershaw County and the risk of spread to other communities is possible, as seen in other states across the country,” Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina's state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We are working with the CDC and state and local officials to limit community spread while continuing with our protocol for identifying travel-related cases in the state.”
One of the new cases involves a woman who was hospitalized for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus and is now isolated. The second person to be sickened is an elderly man who was briefly admitted to a health care facility, was discharged and is now isolated at his home, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The third new case in Camden involves a man who health officials say has no immediately apparent connection to the other Kershaw County cases. He's isolated at his home.
The elderly woman whose case was reported Friday has been taken to a health care facility in South Carolina's Midlands area "to receive a higher level of care" and is isolated, according to state health officials.
On Monday, health officials announced another man in Camden tested positive for COVID-19, was evaluated and is isolated at his home. He came into contact with one of the other people who'd been diagnosed, according to the state.
The other two cases are in the upstate and Lowcountry areas — and they both involve people who recently traveled to Italy, which is experiencing an outbreak of the illness.
A woman in Charleston County who recently visited France and Italy tested positive for the virus Friday. She's self-monitoring and is free of symptoms, according to the state.
Update: Individual in Spartanburg County recently traveled to Italy and returned through CLT airport. He had no symptoms until the day after he returned and had not traveled to any other US airport, therefore, we don't have reason to believe there was any risk to airport patrons.— SCDHEC (@scdhec) March 9, 2020
The fifth case — announced Sunday — is a man in Spartanburg County. He recently got back from Italy and doesn't have any known connection to the other cases in the state. He's isolated in his home. On Monday, the state announced the man had flown into Charlotte Douglas International Airport but didn't show symptoms until the day after he got home.
The state health department says that means it's unlikely he was a risk to others at the airport.
As of Monday afternoon, the state had tested 31 people for COVID-19.
Bell urged people in the state to constantly wash their hands and avoid public places if they're sick. People with fever or who are coughing or having difficulty breathing should call their health care providers.
North Carolina has seven confirmed cases of coronavirus — both in the Triangle area. On Monday, the state Department of Health and Human Services said someone from Indiana who tested positive for the disease was in Durham and Wake counties from March 2-6 while showing symptoms of COVID-19.
That person is isolated in their home in Indiana, and local health officials are trying to identify people in the Triangle area who may have encountered them.