As the coronavirus spreads across North Carolina, the battle moves into a new phase. State officials say the response is no longer containment. It's now mitigation.
In the first phase, containment, health officials want to know how and where a diagnosed individual contracted it. But North Carolina now has its first documented and confirmed case of community spread, meaning officials cannot link this case to another person with a positive test or a highly impacted geographic area.
Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, says mitigation looks like this:
"Hospitals will need to stop doing elective procedures and surgeries. Testing for people with mild illness will also become less important as we transition to this next phase. We will begin to deploy other surveillance methods to understand the spread of virus and drive our decision-making."
Cohen says DHHS is learning from other countries and states, and it’s why state officials have been aggressive about the social distancing measures.
Cohen says it’s more important than ever to observe the recommendations: frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and people in those high-risk categories – which now includes pregnant women – should stay home.