S.C. coronavirus patient flew into Charlotte airport from Italy, health officials confirm

More construction at Charlotte Douglas International Airport begins Monday.
More construction at Charlotte Douglas International Airport begins Monday.(Bria Bell)
Updated: Mar. 9, 2020 at 12:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A patient diagnosed with the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in South Carolina after a trip to Italy returned to the United States at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, health officials confirmed Monday.

The patient, from Spartanburg County, was “asymptomatic and at that time was not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus,” officials with the South Carolina Department of Environmental Health and Control (SCDHEC) said. They say he had no symptoms until one day after he returned and “had not traveled to any other U.S. airport, therefore, [SCDHEC] don’t have reason to believe there was any risk to airport patrons.”

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The man is not hospitalized, health officials say, and is currently isolated at home. Officials have not released any dates regarding the person’s travel, but did say the CDC is not planning on following up with any other passengers on his flight.

“As a reminder, the situation is fluid,” SCDHEC said. “We continue to work closely with our local partner Mecklenburg County Public Health, which is in constant contact with state and federal partners to implement additional measures, if needed.”

SCDHEC states on their website that as of early Monday afternoon, six patients out of 18 who had been tested in South Carolina had come back as “presumptive positive” for COVID-19. Just after 3 p.m., however, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster held a press conference stating a seventh person had tested positive.

There have been two presumptive positive cases in North Carolina, neither of which were in Mecklenburg County. Health officials in the county held a press conference Monday after the news broke about the patient at the airport.

Officials urged residents to remain calm, but also to be cautious.

“The worst thing we can do at this point in time is panic,” Meck Co. Health Director Gibbie Harris said. “We need individuals to be calm and to do what they can to support themselves and their families and protect themselves and their families.”

Has anyone been tested for the coronavirus in Mecklenburg County?

Yes, according to county health officials, but those people tested negative. They ended up having the flu or a different respiratory-like sickness. Officials have not said how many people have been tested.

Officials say they are being selective about who they test, specifically because of limitations with the number of test kits.

Mecklenburg County Corona Virus Hotline

Anyone in Mecklenburg County can call the hotline and it’s free. Call it to report if you think you have systems or even if you just want to talk to someone to get more answers. That number is 980-314-9400.

Quarantine vs. Isolation

If someone is quarantined, that means the individual was potentially exposed to someone or somewhere with a confirmed positive case of coronavirus. When in quarantine, you would be expected to stay home for 14 days, and remove yourself from your normal activities such as work or school, for that amount of time.

If someone is in isolation that means they have tested positive and are infected with the coronavirus. They would be put in isolation under health official’s guidelines until officials have determined they are no longer sick.

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