• UPDATE 3/31, 3:00 pm: Alexander County has a total of two (2) confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus). According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), North Carolina has 1,498 confirmed cases, eight (8) deaths, and 157 hospitalized, with a total of 23,106 tested. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has 163,539 confirmed cases with 2,860 deaths.
• UPDATE, 3/30/20, 5:00 pm: Alexander County still has only one (1) confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus). A total of 51 people have been tested, with one (1) positive, 34 negative, and 16 pending.
ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (March 28, 2020) – A person in Alexander County has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) on Saturday, March 28, which marks the first confirmed case of the virus in Alexander County.
Leeanne Whisnant, Director of Alexander County Consolidated Human Services, said the patient is at home and recovering well.
“We hope this is an isolated case, but are treating this very seriously because we want to contain the virus as much as possible,” Whisnant related. “While we had tried to be optimistic that there wouldn’t be a case of coronavirus in Alexander County, it was just a matter of time as the virus continues to spread across North Carolina and the United States.”
As of Saturday, 49 people had been tested for COVID-19 in Alexander County, with one positive result, 27 negative results, and 21 pending.
Whisnant said that Governor Cooper’s “Stay at Home” Executive Order should help contain the virus across the entire state.
“Although the restrictions may prove difficult for some of our citizens and businesses, the Governor’s executive order will help flatten the curve as less people will come in contact with each other, which is how this highly-contagious virus is spread,” Whisnant stated.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Whisnant encourages the public to adhere to the Governor’s executive order, and stay at home as much as possible. She also encourages citizens to practice good hand washing habits, disinfect and clean surfaces, cough and sneeze into your elbow, don’t touch your face, and maintain at least six (6) feet of social distance from others.
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, March 17 to increase awareness of the seriousness of the virus and to implement plans to mitigate the impact of the virus by closing the majority of county offices and parks to the public. Alexander County Schools are closed until May 15. The majority of churches have canceled services and many are offering online video feeds. The Governor’s “Stay at Home” Executive Order No. 121 was announced on March 27, and goes into effect on Monday, March 30 at 5:00 p.m.
How to protect yourself and others
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises citizens to: avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; stay home if you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; and clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.). The agency also advises citizens to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. In addition, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and put a six-foot distance between yourself and other people (i.e. social distancing). Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.
What to do if you are sick
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have it, you should stay home as most people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Wear a facemask when you are around other people. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas. Stay in touch with your doctor but call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency. If you in a high-risk category (age 65+, underlying health issues, or immune-compromised), you should get tested for COVID-19 by making arrangements with the local health department, doctor’s office, or hospital. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
What is COVID-19 and Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Human coronaviruses commonly circulate in the United States and usually cause mild illnesses like the common cold. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease that was identified in Wuhan, China, and is now spreading throughout the world.