Moore County is bracing for the fast-spreading coronavirus. Matt Garner with the Moore County Health Department said Wednesday patients have been tested in Moore County for the virus.

Now that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has expanded testing criteria for COVID-19, more symptomatic patients are gaining access to testing.

Several patients in Moore County have recently been tested and are awaiting results. In most cases, the results can take three to four days, says Garner. If a patient does test positive, a mandatory isolation order is issued.

The exact number of patients and their conditions have not been released.  Garner said the health department will let the public know if there are any presumptive positive cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 80 percent of known COVID-19 illness is mild.

According to the CDC’s website, “Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness.”

Melissa Fraley, Nursing Director for the Moore County Health Department, asked residents to take reports of the respiratory virus seriously and be prepared in a presentation to the Moore County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting last week.


Nursing Director for the Moore County Health Department Melissa Fraley giving a presentation to the Moore County Board of Commissioners March 3 regarding preparations for coronavirus.

Symptoms of the virus, now officially named COVID-19, are similar to the common flu; fever, cough, sneezing and shortness of breath. It is spread person-to-person through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Another way the virus is transmitted is from direct contact with infected surfaces.

During the presentation, Fraley asked that people wash their hands often, be mindful of hygiene, and minimize touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Also, cover your nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, use your elbow, use common household cleaners and disinfectants, and avoid contact with people that are ill.

Last week Moore County Schools said in a statement on its website that the school district has a Pandemic Influenza Plan.

According to School Health Programs Manager, Phyllis Magnuson, “We encourage parents to keep their child at home if he or she has a fever of 100 degrees or higher and to keep them at home until they are fever free for 24 hours without medication.”

John Elmore, Head of O’Neal School, said they have canceled its international programs through the summer, and “it is possible that public health officials could determine the need for school closures; therefore, teachers in each division are preparing materials to deliver curricular content remotely in the unlikely event of an extended school closure.”

The CDC says people who are at higher risk for contracting the virus are older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.

Area nursing homes and assisted living centers have placed visitor restrictions to help prevent an outbreak in the county. Greens at Pinehurst Rehabilitation and Living Center, Elmcroft in Southern Pines, Pine Knoll of St. Jospesp of the Pines have begun implementing some restrictions. 

Local events are starting to cancel or reschedule due to the virus. Sandhills Repertory Theatre’s March 20 -22 production of “Jerry Herman on Broadway” has been called off for now. Sandhills Farm Tour on April 18 is rescheduling for this fall as well. The Village of Pinehurst has canceled its St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The total number of presumptive positive cases is seven statewide. Six of those patients are from Wake County with another in Chatham County.  The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for North Carolina Tuesday to make needed supplies readily available.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.


Photo via CDC.

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