Johnston County has First Coronavirus Case

For Immediate Release:      

Johnston County Government
March 12, 2020

Smithfield, NC — Johnston County has received notice from the State Lab on Wednesday, March 11, that a resident has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

“This is not a surprise,” said Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson. “It’s likely that more individuals will test presumptively positive for the virus.”

Johnston County Public Health is currently creating a timeline of where this case went and when – paying particular attention to places visited when they became symptomatic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that people are at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 when the affected person is showing flu-like symptoms.

The county can confirm that this affected individual traveled multiple places and upon returning home tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. The CDC defines “close contact” as being with six feet of the patient for 10 minutes or more.

The affected person is currently in isolation at home and is doing well.

The timeline will help our public health staff determine who is at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 from this patient.

If you are at increased risk, our public health team will contact you directly. If a member of our team does not contact you and you do not have any symptoms, you do not need to quarantine yourself or take precautions beyond washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home from school or work if you feel sick.

Although your risk of contracting COVID-19 locally remains low, the county’s public health team encourages you to protect yourself from COVID-19 and any other flu-like illness by following these simple steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces – especially ones that are touched frequently – using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Stay home if you’re sick and don’t send sick children to school or childcare.

The county is also sharing important information on our social media accounts.