Seniors respond to Cooper's state of emergency due to coronavirus

Published: Mar. 9, 2020 at 7:04 PM EDT
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Seniors are reacting to state officials' advice to avoid large, crowded events due to coronavirus concerns.

During a press conference, Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency. The State Health and Human Services advised those 65 and up to avoid sporting events, churches, conventions, and concerts. Fay Lindqvist says she doesn’t feel all the precautions are necessary.

“If an outbreak breaks out in Greenville, then I would say, ‘Ok, it’s time for me to stay home and stay out of the public,’” said Lindqvist.

Lindqvist says seniors need their exercise.

“A lot of seniors are very active in doing things. And that’s important to our health and how we feel about living,” said Lindqvist, “As far as people being restricted, we don’t all just want to sit up in houses and be afraid to come out.”

State officials are also asking assisted living facilities to limit visitation. Spring Arbor Assisted Living Facility resident care director Carol Hanley says they’re already a step ahead.

Hanley said, “Our staff is already trained for general infection control issues. We’re doing a lot more staff education, family education, resident education as well.”

Hanley says resident safety is most important.

"We do our general precautions every day; standard precautions, extra hand washing, cleaning down surfaces that are touched every day," said Hanley.

Lindqvist says she's been washing her hands several times a day. She prays for the best.

“I know we’re all being careful and doing our part. So, you sit pray to God, when God calls you, you gotta go,” Lindqvist said.

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Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency after five more cases of coronavirus were reported in Wake County.

That brings to seven the number of cases in the state. Last week, cases were reported in Wake and Chatham counties.

The governor says his declaration will help speed necessary supplies, protect consumers from price gouging, and encourages insurers to provide tests for little or no cost.

The Department of Health and Human Services says people in the high-risk category, those 65 years and older, and those with underlying medical issues, should avoid large groups of people including concerts, conventions, church services, sporting events, and crowded social events.

DHHS also is asking facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities to limit visitors.

The state says right now they are not recommending any school closures because of the coronavirus, nor cancellation of the ACC Tournament that begins today in Greensboro.

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Five more people in Wake County have tested presumptively positive for COVID-19. All traveled to Boston in late February to attend a BioGen conference.

Several cases of COVID-19 across the country have been tied to the conference. These cases are not related to the Wake County individual who tested positive last week. All are in isolation at their respective homes.

That brings the total cases to seven in NC. Six are in Wake County with the seventh in Chatham County.

The tests, conducted by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, are presumptively positive and will be confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab.

While awaiting confirmation of results from the CDC, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will treat presumptive cases as positive and follow CDC guidelines to protect public health and limit the spread of infection.

The Wake County Public Health Division is already working to identify close contacts. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with a COVID-19 infection for a prolonged period of time. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, North Carolinians should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.

North Carolinians with questions or concerns about COVID-19 can call the COVID-19 phone line toll-free at 866-462-3821. This helpline is staffed by the North Carolina Poison Control 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.