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From Cumberland County:

Cape Fear Valley Medical Center has its first confirmed COVID-19 patient. The individual is a Cumberland County resident. To protect the patient’s privacy and comply with federal privacy laws, no information will be disclosed on the patient. The patient remains in isolation in the hospital.

This is the fourth case in Cumberland County. The Cumberland County Department of Public Health is monitoring the patient and identifying close contacts who may be affected. Health Department staff will notify any contacts who fall under the guidelines for additional monitoring and testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a “close contact” as being within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more. If a staff member does not contact you and you do not have any symptoms, you do not need to quarantine yourself.

Cape Fear Valley Health has been preparing for COVID-19 patients since January. The COVID-19 Task Force has been meeting daily since mid-March in an effort to ramp up preparations as cases in North Carolina rise.

On March 20, the health system enacted a no visitation policy with very limited exceptions in order to protect patients and staff. The N.C. Department of Public Health has announced that community transmission is likely in the state. The no visitor policy helps to reduce the risk that an asymptomatic individual would enter the hospital and potentially spread the virus. It also helps the health system conserve personal protection equipment (PPE), such as masks and gowns, which are becoming in short supply nationwide.

“We truly appreciate the public’s acceptance and patience with these severe visitor restrictions,” said Mike Nagowski, Cape Fear Valley Health CEO. “It is so important to protect our physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals from COVID-19 infection so they are able to continue our mission of providing exceptional healthcare for all our patients.”

Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.