Updated March 20, 2020, at 2:35 p.m. to include a statement from Vice President of Student Life Jon Dooley
The Alamance County Health Department has received notification of its first positive case of the coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19.
According to the health department, the affected individual is in isolation and is doing well. Arlinda Ellison, the department's public information officer, said an investigation into who the individual has come into contact with is ongoing. According to an email from Jon Dooley, vice president of student life, Elon University has no information that connects this individual with Elon students, faculty or staff.
Ellison declined to release any demographical information about the individual.
“We have been preparing and planning for cases in Alamance County. Our public health response team has been in contact with the individual and they are complying with all control measures and orders,” said Stacie Saunders, health director of the Alamance County Department of Health in a press release. “It is likely we will see other confirmed cases in the community. We urge the community to continue to practice social distancing and general precautions in order to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our neighbors.”
Saunders did not immediately respond to Elon News Network's call for comment.
In response to the first case, Amy Scott Galey, chair of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners, declared a state of emergency for the county.
“With our first confirmed case of COVID-19, it is appropriate to declare a state of emergency for Alamance County,” Galey said in a press release. “The county will be working closely with all the municipalities, community partners, and first responders to coordinate resources and share important information. County staff has been working very hard to be sure that essential services are uninterrupted in order to protect public health and safety. Residents should continue to take precautions to avoid exposure and spread of the virus.”
The press release said that this declaration will allow the county to request more emergency supplies and aid from the state and federal government.
There are nearly 140 confirmed cases of the coronavirus throughout North Carolina. Two of the counties neighboring Alamance — Guilford and Chatham — also have confirmed cases of the virus.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 3,233 coronavirus tests have been conducted in the state, which has been in a state of emergency since March 10.
The coronavirus is a respiratory disease that has spread to over 160 countries, infected nearly 210,000 individuals and killed more than 9,000 people worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, which is defined as a “worldwide spread of a new disease.”