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North Carolina county issues state of emergency, while another county reports its first COVID-19 case

Local Government

By Chris Lang | Mar 18, 2020

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As North Carolina’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Mecklenburg County leaders declared a state of emergency on March 15.

County health officials have reported at least seven cases as of March 17 related to the severe respiratory illness that has caused unprecedented shutdowns of businesses, schools and public facilities nationwide.

As of March 17, North Carolina reported 40 cases. Wake County has the most at 15 cases and on March 17, Cabarrus County reported its first occurrence.

County health officials said on Sunday that the people who presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus are being isolated at home and family members are quarantined.

North Carolina towns are also taking action to continue to conduct public business. In Charlotte, according to the Charlotte Observer, the city is planning to hold public meetings but community members will be in a separate room from officials and seated at least 6 feet from each other.

Charlotte canceled the city council meetings for this week but is planning to hold a rescheduled Monday, March 23 conference for public hearings. The meeting was originally set for March 16.

“Our focus is on maintaining city services while also ensuring the safety and well-being of our staff,” Charlotte City Manager Marcus D. Jones said in a statement on March 15. “It is likely that there will be service impacts across the city in the coming weeks, but our goal is and always will be to continue to provide excellent services to our residents and businesses.”

The state’s governor, Roy Cooper, issued an order on March 14 limiting public gatherings to no more than 100 people and closed schools, a measure several states have mandated as the virus continues to spread.

“We do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach. These are hard decisions but they are necessary so we can learn more about the virus,” Cooper said in the statement. “We do not want any regrets in the rearview mirror, and I am guided by one objective – doing what we must to keep people from getting sick and to make sure that those who do can get excellent care."

Media outlets nationwide report based on information from state leaders that there are more than 6,100 U.S. coronavirus cases and 112 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states there are more than 4,226 cases and 75 deaths. These numbers are as of 10 a.m. on March 18.

State residents with concerns are questions about the virus can call the North Carolina coronavirus hotline anytime at 866-462-3821.

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County of MecklenburgCabarrus County

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