Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina on Tuesday as the state has seven presumptive positive coronavirus cases and supplies to test just 300 more people.
"I ask all North Carolinians to take this seriously," Cooper said in a news briefing Tuesday afternoon. "Anyone can carry the virus to loved ones or friends who could become ill. Protecting public health means being cautious and being prepared. Today, we are both."
Declaring a state of emergency allows the state to request federal funds, helps speed access to medical supplies and gives health and emergency managers budget flexibility, Cooper said. He added that the declaration protects consumers from price gouging and encourages insurers to make testing available for little or no cost.
Five new cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus — were idenfied Monday in Wake County, all of which involved people who attended a BioGen conference in Boston, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release. Several cases of COVID-19 across the country have been linked to the conference.
Officials said all five new patients are in isolation in their homes.
As of midday Tuesday, North Carolina's state lab had tested 44 people for COVID-19, according to health officials. Cooper said the state has supplies to test about 300 more.
Statewide recommendations: People at high risk should avoid large groups of people as much as possible. This includes gatherings such as concert venues, conventions, church services, sporting events, and crowded social events. #COVID19NC
— NCDHHS (@ncdhhs) March 10, 2020
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, two new presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 were identified in Camden in Kershaw County. Both individuals are currently hospitalized.
As of Tuesday afternoon, South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control had tested 41 people, with seven presumptive positive cases and two confirmed cases. The remaining 32 cases were negative.
Six of the nine cases presumptive or confirmed positive cases are in Kershaw County.
— SCDHEC (@scdhec) March 10, 2020
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