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Two cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Beaufort County

By MATT DEBNAM and VAIL STEWART RUMLEY

Washington Daily News

Local health officials have confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 in Beaufort County. Two people who tested positive for COVID-19 were tested at Beaufort County Public Health in Washington and the results were confirmed at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health. The Beaufort County health department learned of the positive test results on Tuesday.

In one case, the origin of the virus was clear, as contact had been made with a person who had previously tested positive.

“It’s linked to another person who was positive in another county,” said Beaufort County Public Health Director Jim Madson.

The source for the second case hasn’t yet been tracked down.

“The state has been reporting that community transmission has been occurring in the state of North Carolina. In essence, what that means is that it’s unknown where that person contracted it,” Madson said.

Madson said both people who tested positive are doing well and currently have moderate cases of COVID-19. Health department employees are now tracking down anyone who came in contact with those two people over the last few days.

“We will notify those people. It’s already been initiated,” Madson said, adding that anyone who came in contact with those testing positive will be asked to self-isolate and monitor their temperatures for 14 days. If they become ill, they’re encouraged to call their primary care physician for medical advice, but otherwise stay home.

Where the Pitt County Board of Commissioners enacted a “Stay Home” order

Monday night in response to the six known cases in neighboring Pitt County, Madson said Beaufort County has not yet decided on the same course.

“I think we’re still trying to gather information and getting input from all leaders in the county to discuss that, but there are no recommendations at this point. We want to hear from everybody before we make that call,” Madson said. “We have been kind of expecting this to happen, and we don’t feel like there’s any more need to panic. Social distancing does cut down on the spread, and people need to be cognizant of those measures.”

The health department declined to release further information in order to protect the patients’ identities.

As far as precautions for the general public, the health department continues to strongly encourage residents to abide by social distancing protocols and the following preventative measures:

  • Stay home. Only go out for food or scheduled doctor’s appointments.
  • If sick, isolate yourself from others in your household.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Cough and sneeze in a tissue and throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, stay home and continue to monitor your symptoms. Call your provider to see if you need additional medical care.

Remember to seek the most verified and accurate information from sources, such as the Beaufort County Health Department, Department of Health and Human Services, and Center for Disease and Control, regarding COVID-19 and associated risks.

Anyone with additional questions or concerns, or who would like additional information, can visit www.bchd.net or call 252-946-1902.