Wake County Begins Investigation of Five People with COVID-19

Today, the Wake County Public Health Division learned that five people who live in Wake County have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is running a second test to confirm these results.

“These new cases bring the total count of presumptive positive cases to six in Wake County,” said Chris Kippes, Wake County Public Health Division director. “All six individuals are in isolation at their respective homes.”

Patients’ Timelines
Now that these patients have tested presumptive positive, the county’s contact tracing staff is having conversations with each patient to assemble a timeline of their movements prior to entering isolation at home.

Wake County is aware that these five people attended the same Biogen corporate conference in Boston, Mass. during the last week of February. More than two dozen conference attendees in other states have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

The public health team is assessing the risk of each person who was in close contact with the patients and determining if quarantine and testing for COVID-19 are warranted. The CDC defines “close contact” as being within six feet of the infected patients for 10 minutes or more.

The specific steps they take include:

  • Interviewing the person to assess their exposure risk level. This includes understanding how close they were to the symptomatic patient.
  • Based on that assessment, public health staff determine which additional public health activities are required, such as temperature and symptom checks.
  • If the person is put in quarantine and remains asymptomatic 14 days after exposure, they will be released from quarantine.
  • If the person in quarantine develops symptoms, public health staff would assess the need for testing them for COVID-19.
  • If the result is presumptive positive, the person is put in isolation. Once they become asymptomatic, they require two negative tests at least 24 hours apart to be released from isolation.

Risk Assessment
If you have a known increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, a member of the Wake County Public Health Division will contact you directly. If a member of the public health team has not contacted you and you do not have any symptoms, you do not need to quarantine yourself.

Although your risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, the county’s public health team encourages you to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Stay home if you’re sick and don’t send sick children to school or childcare.

Staying Updated
If you have general questions about COVID-19 in Wake County, call our COVID-19 information line at 919-856-7044. If you have emergent health concerns related to COVID-19, you can call our communicable disease line at 919-404-7575.

Wake County has made it easy for you to stay updated on the latest information about COVID-19.

You can visit our COVID-19 webpage, which has a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents, as well as an email address and phone number that people can use to ask personal health-related questions about COVID-19. The county is also sharing important information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are also good resources for up-to-date, accurate information about this evolving situation.

Press Release