The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported Wednesday the first two COVID-19 associated deaths in the state, according to a statement from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office. A person from Cabarrus County in their late seventies with several underlying medical conditions died March 24. A person from Virginia in their sixties who was traveling through North Carolina also died from COVID-19 complications. Health officials will not release any further information about these patients in order to protect the families’ privacy, the press release said.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones. This is a stark warning that for some people COVID-19 is a serious illness. All of us must do our part to stop the spread by staying at home as much as possible and practicing social distancing,” Cooper said in a statement.
The NCDHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection. On March 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated who is at high risk for severe illness. The list includes anyone who is 65 years of age or older, lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility, has a high-risk condition such as chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, heart disease with complications, compromised immune system, severe obesity, or underlying medical conditions – particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease.
Additionally, pregnant women should be monitored closely since they are known to be at risk, the CDC said, although data on the virus has not shown increased risk for severe illness in pregnant women. While children are generally at lower risk, health officials said, some studies indicate a higher risk among infants.
For more information on COVID-19 and how to stay safe, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus or the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.