gibbie harris

Catawba County health officials used contact tracing to identify 41 cases that originated with a family gathering recently.
Catawba County Public Health

Mecklenburg County's health director says she's worried that contact tracing isn't working and that makes it hard to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. 

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.
Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / CDC


Mecklenburg County Public Health director Gibbie Harris said the county likely needs to double its number of daily coronavirus tests as North Carolina moves into its three-phase reopening plan.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris
Claire Donnelly / WFAE


Gibbie Harris has had some trouble sleeping lately. Part of it, as Harris said recently, is that her biggest struggle is "shutting her brain down at night."

It's no wonder. The Mecklenburg County Public Health Director, a previously somewhat behind-the-scenes role, now leads the local response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. She gives press conferences at least weekly. She fields criticism and angry emails. And she's responsible for keeping people in the county healthy and safe.