A Wilkes County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), announced Wilkes Health Director Rachel Willard Monday morning.

Willard said is the first positive case in Wilkes County.

“We have been preparing should we see a positive case of COVID-19 in our community. Now that we have a positive case, we will continue to work diligently to protect the public’s health. It is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed in a timely manner,” she said.

“We also want to encourage the public to practice social distancing and take prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when you’re sick, and keeping distance from others who are sick.”

Willard said the Wilkes Health Department is working closely with local partners and agencies to ensure the public’s health is protected and precautions are being taken to protect all residents of Wilkes. 

“We will continue to monitor and respond to the guidance from health officials for all Wilkes County services. We continue to work with Wilkes County Health Department, stakeholders and local agencies to protect our community’s health,” stated Wilkes County Manager John Yates. 

“We understand that people are going to have questions and we encourage the public to call us or their local provider if they are ill and believe they may need care. Please remember to call prior to arrival, so healthcare personnel have time to limit exposure to themselves and others,” said Willard.

“Again, we would like to remind and encourage the community to not use the hospital emergency room unless it is a true emergency. “We need to preserve our local hospital capacity to respond throughout this event to meet the various healthcare needs that require urgent action in our community.”

She said the health department is reminding the public to share credible, reliable information and practice prevention measures like handwashing, covering your cough and sneeze, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. 

Willard emphasized the importance of:

  • frequent hand washing; 
  • staying home when you’re sick;
  • keeping distance from others who are sick; 
  • avoiding touching your face; 
  • cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles; 
  • practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet from others;
  • do not congregate with more than 9 people.

“Please be aware that you may hear about people who have been instructed by their healthcare provider to self-isolate since they have been tested for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This does not mean that they have tested positive, it means that they are being guided to stay home until a test result is provided. This is a standard procedure for managing public health outbreaks,” she said.

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