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RALEIGH — Five more people in Wake County have tested presumptively positive today for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). 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.

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 six 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.

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