NHC Officials Announce County's First COVID-19 Case

Mar 18, 2020

New Hanover County leaders have announced the county’s first presumptive case of the coronavirus. The person, who recently traveled internationally, is doing well, and isolating at home. They’re just one of many individuals who have received COVID-19 testing in the county.

According to county officials, the person who tested positive for the virus returned to the United States last Thursday, Mar. 12. On Sunday, Mar. 15, they arrived in New Hanover County through the Wilmington airport, and were tested and placed in isolation Monday, Mar. 16.

While the case is the first presumptive positive result in the county, it’s unlikely to be the last. New Hanover County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman says over 40 other COVID-19 tests are awaiting results:

“Currently, there have been 65 tests conducted in New Hanover County. To date, 20 negatives have been received. One is pending at the state lab, and 43 are pending through private labs.”

Per State Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, only those who meet one of two specific criteria cases should seek testing for COVID-19. The first example includes symptoms of either fever or lower respiratory symptoms -- like coughing or shortness of breath -- combined with exposure to a confirmed case of the virus within the past 14 days. The second example includes symptoms of fever and lower respiratory symptoms, provided the person has received a negative flu test.

For residents experiencing these symptoms, officials advise calling healthcare providers or walk-in clinics before showing up in person.

New Hanover County has established a Coronavirus Call Center for residents to speak with a nurse to assess their individual risk and, if needed, be connected to a provider. The Coronavirus Call Center can be reached at 910-798-6800 and is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.