South Carolina reported its first two possible cases of COVID-19 -- the disease associated with the coronavirus -- and is waiting on final confirmation from the CDC. Officials are unsure of where one of the patients with a presumptive positive test contracted the virus.
State health officials say one of the patients is an elderly woman from Kershaw County -- northeast of Columbia -- who’s been hospitalized and is in isolation. State epidemiologist Linda Bell says the woman had not been traveling recently and doesn’t know how she may have been exposed to the virus.
"We're continuing to investigate to see if she had contact with someone who did potentially travel elsewhere and then that would make this case a connection to a travel-associated case," Bell said.
Another woman in Charleston County also has tested positive for the virus. She recently returned to Charleston after visiting France and Italy -- where there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 -- last week. She’s now quarantined at her home and is reportedly doing well.
Health officials say anyone who’s been in contact with either patient is being monitored for possible symptoms, and Bell stressed that the risk to the general public remains low.
"There is no reason to alter your daily routines, other than to continue to be vigilant about keeping germs from spreading by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently with soap and water, and staying home when sick," Bell said.
North Carolina, meanwhile, is treating two possible cases of coronavirus, both in the Triangle area. At a news conference on Friday, officials said the state is working to get more testing kits and preparing for the possibility of additional cases.