The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday October 15th

Four cases of COVID-19 identified in Orange County

<p>The outside of the emergency wing of UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, March 19, 2020.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Photo by Brian Keyes.</p>
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The outside of the emergency wing of UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, March 19, 2020. 

Photo by Brian Keyes.

Four cases of COVID-19 — also known as coronavirus — have been identified in Orange County according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and a press release from the Orange County Health Department (OCHD) on Friday morning.

“I know that people are worried about this virus, and I want to assure the Orange County community members that we are prepared,” said OCHD health director, Quintana Stewart in the release. “With the global spread of this virus we anticipated that we would eventually identify a case here in Orange County. To prepare we have been working closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services (NCDHHS) Orange County EMS (OEMS), health care providers and others to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur.”

Gov. Roy Cooper announced the first documented case of community transmission — defined as a positive testing individual with no contact with another confirmed COVID-19 positive individual — on Thursday.

“This new information has shifted our response efforts from containment to mitigation," Stewart said. "The goal is to slow the transmission of disease and protect our high-risk population and healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces.”

Penny Rich, chairperson of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, implored residents to practice social distancing.

“No one knows for certain how many of us will get sick, but the CDC says that in the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus," Rich said. "To put this in perspective, in Orange County, we have approximately 146,000 people. If 20 percent of us become infected with COVID-19, approximately 30,000 people in our community will get sick, and some of our residents may die from the disease."


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