First detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in China, the Coronavirus has now been detected in 50 countries around the globe, including some cases in the United States.

Coronavirus Updates, News, Your Health

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Updates

Global health authorities are responding to an outbreak of a new virus. First detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province in China, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been actively spreading around the globe, including the United States. Atrium Health experts say you can never be too careful and that people need to educate themselves on what to do if they contract it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This page will serve as a resource for information as it relates to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Check back in for the latest updates from our Atrium Health experts and national sources. For medical assistance and resources, please see our list at the bottom of this post.

For more information on how to find care, visit AtriumHealth.org/Coronavirus

*Latest update: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 4:06 p.m.

If you have questions, contact your healthcare provider or utilize virtual visits or e-visits to discuss your symptoms. If you decide to schedule an in-person visit with your healthcare professional to further evaluate your symptoms, and have traveled abroad in an area where the virus is prevalent or you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, it's important that you call ahead so that they can put the appropriate measures in place to prevent spread. 


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

4:06 p.m.

Charlotte Breweries Mix and Donate Hand Sanitizer to Atrium Health

While day-to-day brewery sales are on pause with the exception of to-go orders during the current coronavirus pandemic, two local breweries have taken it upon themselves to use their skills to give back to the community. Using their brewing tanks and stills, they have been able to mix and donate more than 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizers to Atrium Health.

Resident Culture makes hand sanitizer to donate to Atrium Health during coronavirus pandemic


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

5:10 p.m.

Through Courage and Determination, Nurses Show Unconquerable Spirit Throughout COVID-19 Pandemic

As we start to see more cases of COVID-19 in our communities, our nurses have stepped up to demonstrate exemplary commitment to care for each and every patient who walks through our doors. Here, Maureen Swick, PhD, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President and System Nurse Executive, writes her appreciation to nurses who are on the frontlines during this unprecedented time.

12:06 p.m.

Coronavirus from the Frontlines: Ensuring Access to Care

Atrium Health’s providers have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, caring for patients and supporting our communities. See how Daniela Sanchez, BSN, RN, a critical care supervisor in the emergency room is leading teammates and providing care for patients.

Daniela Sanchez

9:38 a.m.

Critical Care Surgery Team Develops Hospital Blueprint for Handling Essential Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

To help guide hospital surgery departments through this crisis, the acute surgery division at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., has developed a tiered plan for marshaling limited resources. Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center recommendations came about when acute care surgery team members approached the department of surgery leadership with the concept, drawing upon their different areas of expertise in disaster management.

Maximizing the calm before the storm: A tiered surgical response plan for COVID-19 


Monday, April 5, 2020

10:20 a.m. 

Coronavirus: Why Wearing Cloth Face Masks Is a Good Idea

To protect each other from coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing cloth masks in public. See why and how to make your own at home.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

1:16 p.m.

New CDC Recommendation: Wear Cloth Face Coverings in Public Spaces where Social Distancing is Difficult to Maintain

Based on new evidence showing how a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms, CDC has issued a new recommendation to wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.


Friday, April 3, 2020

10:04 p.m. 

Tonight, Charlotte proudly sparkled with green lights to show love and support for all of our healthcare workers who have been so committed to keeping our community safe and healthy during this time. Thank you to all of our healthcare professionals! We're proud to stand beside you.

7:54 p.m. 

Make Noise to Make a Difference

Thank you to everyone in our community who stepped out on their front porch, their driveway or even out their window to make some noise for all of our healthcare workers! It was incredible to see (and hear!) everyone supporting those who have committed themselves to keeping our community stay safe and healthy. We're so appreciative of our care teams!

11:48 a.m.

Creating Handmade Face Masks to Make a Difference

As coronavirus continues to impact communities, two local groups identified an opportunity to help when they heard about the need for face masks for patients who are experiencing flu-like symptoms The masks serve as a vital way to prevent exposure. See how a group of seamstresses and members of Charlotte Ballet are creating CDC approved face masks to donate to Atrium Health. Read their stories and learn how you can participate too!


Thursday, April 2, 2020

5:14 p.m.

Join Us for Our "Make Noise to Make a Difference" Community Event without Leaving Your Driveway

Get your bells, whistles, pots and pans, or whatever else you might have at your home ready to show your appreciation for our healthcare heroes. Click here to hear more details from our Facebook event, and be sure to share with friends and neighbors!

Make Noise to Make a Difference

2:24 p.m.

Using the latest epidemiological statistical analysis to predict community spread, we are anticipating potential additional volumes of approximately 3,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients beyond our currently planned surge capacity. In addition, our models suggest the surge will occur between mid-April and mid-May 2020. As seen in other cities across the nation, such a surge can quickly overwhelm hospitals, and a field hospital can act as an important relief valve. Therefore, the time to act is now to implement solutions needed to adequately care for our patients and community.

Mecklenburg County Needs to Prepare for the Surge in COVID-19 Patients and Hospital Utilization


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

8:16 a.m.

Coronavirus from the Frontlines: Leading a Response

Atrium Health’s providers have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, caring for patients and supporting our communities. See how Katie Passaretti, MD, our medical director for infection prevention is leading the response to keep our community safe and informed.

Dr. Katie Passaretti

 


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

3:07 p.m. 

A Message from the Office of Atrium Health’s President & CEO, Eugene A. Woods

"At Atrium Health, we are prepared year round for emergency situations. It’s why FEMA has called on us many times in the past, for example, to support hurricane and other disaster relief efforts with our MED-1 mobile hospital unit and extensive ground and air transport capabilities.

That said, we understand that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new and different threat. That is why we led the effort, together with others, to successfully request the stay-at-home orders that are now in place in the state. As healthcare providers that are entrusted with caring for this community 24/7, first and foremost, we are requesting that the community adheres to this directive because each and every one of us can play a big role in reducing the spread of this virus, which will go a long way toward helping hospitals preserve needed resources.      

We have also implemented numerous other actions to create additional capacity, including halting elective and non-essential surgeries; converting thousands of patients visits to our virtual platform; and launched our Atrium Health COVID-19 Virtual Hospital initiative, just to name a few. Further, we have surge plans in place should we experience a significant influx of patients all at one time and are in daily communication with top county and state officials to coordinate our response as the situation evolves. Mostly, we want everyone to know that our number one goal is to do everything in our power to keep our patients, our teammates and our community safe."

12:12 p.m.

Atrium Health Partners with OneBlood to Host Community Blood Drives

In times of need, you may find yourself wondering how you can help your community. While there are many ways to have an impact, one very crucial way to help others in-need is by donating blood. Atrium Health is proud to partner with OneBlood to offer social-distancing safe sites for blood donations. Schedule your appointment today and you may just save a life!


Monday, March 30, 2020

4:16 p.m. 

Local Seamstress Group Creates and Distributes Homemade CDC-Approved Face Masks for Patients

A group of local seamstresses based in Lancaster, South Carolina, hold the health and safety of our teammates and patients near and dear to their hearts. For several years, the seamstresses, known as the Tree Tops Needlecrafters, have sewn many items for us, including pediatric pillowcases, seatbelt covers for cancer patients, and isolette covers for infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Kathleen Sharp, one of our wonderful teammates, lives in the same community where the Tree Top Needlecrafters reside, and first came in contact with them when they were able to transform her wedding gown into dozens of “angel gowns.” Angel Gowns are donated wedding dresses that are remade into tiny baby burial gowns small enough to fit premature or newborn babies. These gowns also allow families to give their child a baptism or take pictures, so that they have a lasting, beautiful image of their child. The angel gowns created out of Kathleen’s dress were donated to Levine Children's Hospital and Atrium Health Pineville this past December. Read the story here: bit.ly/KathleenAngelGowns

As the coronavirus pandemic got close to home and news of a nationwide shortage of masks started to spread, Kathleen and the Tree Top Needlecrafters knew what their next project would be. Over the past several weeks, Kathleen and the seamstresses, in coordination with infectious disease physicians, nurses and key leaders throughout our system, created a template for a sewn mask that meets CDC guidelines and can be used after all existing face mask options are used.

While we currently have a supply of regular face mask options, the Tree Top Needlecrafters are hard at work sewing hundreds of masks that will initially be used for patients with flu-like symptoms, to help reduce exposure. In the event of a supply shortage, the masks could be used for healthcare providers.

We will begin to receive donations of sewn fabric face masks starting today - Monday, March 30.

If you would like to join the Treetop Needle Crafters along with several other local volunteer sewers, please email communitybenefit@atriumhealth.org for more information.

Instructions for adult masks.

Instructions for pediatric masks.

 

2:22 p.m. 

Q&A: What to Know about Children and Coronavirus

Have questions about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and how it may impact children? Atrium Health Levine Children's experts share what parents need to know about coronavirus and children.

9:08 a.m.

Continuing our Commitment to Excellent Cancer Care Amid COVID-19

Levine Cancer Institute’s commitment to patient care will not waver, not even during a pandemic. Here’s how we protect patients during COVID-19. Plus: Four Tips for Cancer Patients to Minimize Risk During COVID-19.

 


Sunday, March 29, 2020

5:15 p.m.

We are saddened to report that on Sunday, March 29, 2020, public health officials announced the first COVID-19 related death in Mecklenburg County. The individual was 60 years old and had underlying health conditions. Our deepest condolences to this individual's friends and family during this difficult time. 

 


Friday, March 27, 2020

4:26 p.m.

Stay-at-Home Order by Governor Cooper Applauded by Health System Leaders

In the interest of protecting the health and well-being of both the community and health care workers during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), leaders from Atrium Health, CaroMont Health, Cone Health, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health support Governor Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order for North Carolina, effective at 5 p.m., on Monday, March 30.

This order will ultimately protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and will help preserve the necessary supplies each health system requires to care for patients during this pandemic.

9:22 a.m.

“We have great people working in this system and we will succeed.” – Dr. Beril Cakir

Like many of us, Dr. Cakir, a hospitalist at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center, has found her mind racing during a time of unknown. During her first week of social distancing, Dr. Cakir used some of her time to paint for an upcoming exhibit. As she was completing her painting, she realized that not only was the color she chose the same as something that’s been on her mind - face masks – it was also the color that represents Atrium Health.

“I was surprised by the power of subconscious mind! At that point, I decided to modify this painting into a motivational/uplifting piece for my team.” 

Dr. Cakir paints art in light of coronavirus outbreak 

“Queen city (with its crown) to fight against coronavirus

In the uncharted waters

Atrium Health above watching over the city

(To improve health, elevate hope, advance healing -- for all)

We are all in this together

Like air, we will rise.”

The painting’s message draws inspiration from Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.”


Thursday, March 26, 2020

3:07 p.m. 

Statement Regarding Washington Post Article

There was a concerning article published by The Washington Post describing how some hospitals are struggling with resuscitation of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the potential exposure of healthcare workers to the virus. In the text, it references Atrium Health.

To clarify, there has been no change to our policies or practices concerning patients with Do Not Resuscitate orders at Atrium Health. Our care teams work tirelessly each day to provide the highest quality care to everyone, and breathe life into our mission of improving health, elevating hope and advancing healing – for all. We extend compassionate, high-quality medical treatment and care for all, and will continue to follow all guidelines, standards and policies established by the government, CDC and professional medical societies. 

10:21 a.m.

What Does a Stay-at-Home Order Mean?

Communities across the US, including in Charlotte and surrounding areas, are issuing orders for people to stay home. But what does a stay-at-home order mean? Can you leave home at all?

A stay-at-home order is basically a stricter form of social distancing, or avoiding public places and groups of people. But even under a stay-at-home order, there are times it’s OK – and even necessary – to leave home, including to seek medical care.

According to some stay-at-home orders, you can leave home to:

  • Go to the doctor, if the visit can’t be done virtually
  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Pick up medications and healthcare needs at the pharmacy
  • Get food delivered or takeout from a restaurant or drive-thru
  • Help someone else get supplies
  • Walk, bike, jog or just spend time outdoors – as long as you’re at least 6 feet away from others
  • Take pets to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Receive deliveries from any delivery business

You should not:

  • Go to work or travel, unless it falls under what the order defines as “essential”
  • Visit friends and family if it’s not urgent
  • Gather in groups, outside of those you live with

Stay-at-home orders can vary from county to county. Keep an eye on what your county is asking, and remember: It won’t last forever. Just by staying at home as much as you can, you’re doing a big thing to protect your community.

If you think you’re having coronavirus symptoms or need help, please call our 24/7 Health Line at 704-468-8888.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020 

1:27 p.m. 

Cardiovascular Care without Borders: An International Response to Coronavirus

Those with cardiovascular disease need to take every possible step to avoid exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). As coronavirus impacts communities at different rates, cardiovascular leaders worldwide are collaborating and sharing information daily across digital and video platforms. Using research and CDC guidelines, clinicians and other healthcare workers caring for cardiovascular patients are putting informed clinical recommendations into practice. Read answers to some of the top cardiovascular questions from Dr. Hadley Wilson, executive vice chair of Atrium Health's Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.

11:12 a.m.

Coronavirus from the Frontlines: A Time to Jump in and Help

Atrium Health’s providers have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, caring for patients and supporting our communities. See how Stephanie "Coop" Cooper, RN, is providing care and soothing anxieties at Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center. 

As the coronavirus pandemic grows, registered nurse Stephanie Cooper stepped in to help, without any hesitation. Learn more.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

4:26 p.m.

For the safety of healthcare workers and to expedite returning to good health and prosperity, Atrium Health and Novant Health urges Mecklenburg County to issue stay-at-home orders.

Stay-in-Home Order Needed to Expedite Returning Mecklenburg County to Good Health and Prosperity

2:58 p.m. 

[Charlotte Agenda coverage] 

Pregnancy and Coronavirus: Atrium Health’s Dr. Lorene Atkins Temming Answers 16 Questions

Is a pregnant woman at higher risk of contracting COVID-19? What can pregnant women do to protect themselves? What should I do if I’m pregnant and test positive? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 that expecting mothers are seeking answers for. Dr. Lorene Atkins Temming, an OB/GYN and maternal fetal medicine physician with Atrium Health responds to questions that moms-to-be might be asking themselves during this time. 

[WBTV Coverage]

Can Coronavirus Affect Pregnant Women?

8:37 a.m.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Becomes Pit Stop for Atrium Health Coronavirus Testing

In partnership with the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atrium Health has created a Coronavirus Testing Center at zMAX Dragway. The remote testing site provides a convenient location for residents of northern Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties to have their tests performed when ordered by their physician. The speedway has become the first professional sports venue in the country to serve the community as a remote testing site during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Atrium Health has several additional sites throughout the Charlotte region, each in locations designed to provide a secure, private environment for patients to be tested. 


Monday, March 23, 2020

1:34 p.m.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issues new executive order closing all public K-12 schools across the state for in-person instruction until May 15, 2020.  

8:20 a.m.

Dr. Scott Rissmiller Announces Atrium Health’s New Virtual Program

Telemedicine is becoming more and more important to ease resources at hospitals and other healthcare facilities as the pandemic progresses. On Sunday, March 22, Scott Rissmiller, MD, Atrium Health EVP and Chief Physician Executive, was live on Fox News’ Fox & Friends discussing how telemedicine works during the coronavirus outbreak as Atrium Health has been utilizing telemedicine with Virtual Visits for almost a decade.

Dr. Rissmiller also announced a new Atrium Health virtual program deploying on Sunday. Once a patient is tested for coronavirus in an Atrium Health facility, a bag of remote monitoring devices can be sent home with the person. The to-go tools include blood pressure cuffs and the ability to monitor oxygen levels so the care team can virtually check on the at-home patient multiple times a day.

Dr. Scott Rissmiller announces new Atrium Health telehealth program during COVID-19 outbreak on Fox News' Fox & Friends 

 


Sunday, March 22, 2020

9:18 a.m.

Our teammates on the frontlines come into work every day to provide care for patients through the evolving coronavirus situation, rising to its challenges under stressful circumstances.

Through this difficult time we could all use some light to soothe our minds, bodies and spirits. 

So, Atrium Health’s Spiritual Care and Education teammates would like to share this meditation poem and prayer, while asking for your continued commitment to bring health, hope and healing, because we’re all in this together.

 


Saturday, March 21, 2020

8:42 p.m.

How can we reduce a child's anxiety about coronavirus?

Parents are dealing with a lot in trying to process the latest coronavirus news while also keeping their families safe and secure. Dr. Gillian Regan, pediatric psychologist at Levine Children’s, offers some comfort and tips for how to also make sure kids are dealing with their emotions in a healthy way.


Friday, March 20, 2020

2:16 p.m.

Is It COVID-19, the Flu, a Cold, or Seasonal Allergies?

Between COVID-19, influenza, the common cold and seasonal allergies, it can be tough to tell the difference between all four. To help you understand the symptoms for each condition, check out this infographic that will help you to decide when to seek care for your symptoms.

[DOWNLOAD INFOGRAPHIC]

How to tell the difference between COVID-19, the flu, a common cold and seasonal allergies. 

9:06 a.m.

Ways to Stay Social During Social Distancing

We get it as much as the next person – social distancing can be challenging. But in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, we must make sure to avoid contact with others in big groups and public settings. 

As we adjust to this new normal, check out this infographic for ways in which you can continue to stay social in a safe way – and maybe even build a new set of hobbies and skills along the way!

[DOWNLOADABLE INFOGRAPHIC]

How to adhere to social distancing during coronavirus outbreak 

 


Thursday, March 19, 2020 

10:23 p.m.

David A. Tepper Charitable Foundation Donates $1 Million to Atrium Health and Novant Health

Copy: The David A.Tepper Charitable Foundation has made a $1 million donation, with Atrium Health Foundation receiving $650,000, and Novant Health Foundation receiving $350,000. This donation will be used across the Carolinas to support efforts surrounding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

The $650,000 gift will be directed to the newly established Atrium Health Essential Needs Fund. As individuals are looking for ways to support Atrium Health during these uncertain times, the Atrium Health Essential Needs Fund will support Atrium Health’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and future essential needs. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

4:43 p.m. 

Atrium Health Enhances Visitor Restrictions to Essential Visitation Only

Effective Thursday, March 19, Atrium Health is restricting visitor access to include essential visitation only to help protect patients from the spread of coronavirus.

10:15 a.m.

Dr. Scott Rissmiller Breaks Down the Barriers to Virtual Health Visits

On Wednesday, March 17, the White House announced that seniors in the Medicare program will receive expanded telehealth coverage in the hopes that this will limit the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. Using telehealth programs, these individuals can talk to their doctor about their medical conditions from the safety of their own home.

Scott Rissmiller, MD, Atrium Health EVP and Chief Physician Executive, was live on FOX News discussing the significance of this announcement and the overall importance of telemedicine during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more. 

Dr. Scott Rissmiller speaks on Fox News about the expansion of telehealth coverage under the care of Medicare plans.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

3:12 p.m.

Non-Essential Surgeries, Procedures and Ambulatory Appointments to be Rescheduled

Following the guidelines from the U.S. Surgeon General and the American College of Surgeons, Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Novant Health are rescheduling non-essential surgeries, procedures and ambulatory appointments, effective Wednesday, March 18. Any emergency and essential services will continue uninterrupted.

2:15 p.m.

North Carolina to Close Restaurants and Bars for Dine-In Customers, Allow Takeout and Delivery Operations to Continue 

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that North Carolina restaurants and bars will be closed to sit-down service and limited to take-out or delivery orders starting at 5 p.m., March 17, 2020. Grocery stores, gas stations, and convenience stores, are exempt from this order and will remain open, though they may not serve sit-down food.


Monday, March 16, 2020

9:20 p.m.

White House Issues New Coronavirus Guidelines for America

On Monday, March 16, 2020 President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global Coronavirus outbreak. According to this new guidance, the White House is advising all Americans avoid groups of more than 10 people and urges older individuals to stay at home.

The White House issues new guidelines to combat COVID-19

The White House issues new guidelines to combat COVID-19  

3:35 p.m.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools will provide grab-and-go meals free of charge for anyone 18-years old and under while schools remain closed. Lunch (and breakfast for the next day) will be served in participating school parking lots.

Meals will be distributed Monday-Friday beginning Tuesday, March 17 from 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

 

11:52 a.m.

First COVID-19 Death in South Carolina

It is with heavy hearts that we report that the first COVID-19-related death has occurred in the state of South Carolina. The elderly patient was from Lexington County and resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care Skilled Nursing Facility. At this time, there are no deaths that have been reported in North Carolina.

Please join us in keeping their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers, and remember to continue to practice disease prevention measures in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.

 

 


Sunday, March 15, 2020

6:41 p.m.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Issue New National Guidelines for COVID-19

As of Sunday, March 15, 2020, the CDC has issued national guidelines that recommends for the next 8 weeks organizers (both groups and individuals) cancel or postpone all in-person events of 50 people or more throughout the United States. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus. 

5:52 p.m. 

10 Things to Know About Atrium Health’s Coronavirus Response

At Atrium Health, we're here to support our community in times of need. See how we're working to contain and treat the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-20).

4:21 p.m.

Two additional Mecklenburg County residents have tested positively for COVID-19, bringing the total countywide to four. Public officials stated that both are being isolated at home and that family members are being quarantined as well. 


Saturday, March 14, 2020

4:30 p.m.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper held a briefing along with health and education leaders on Saturday, March 14, to announce that NC public grade schools are required to close starting March 16 for at least two weeks along with other mandates.

 


Friday, March 13, 2020

4:15 p.m.

On Friday, March 13, two Facebook Live panels were held at Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center to address the latest concerns surrounding COVID-19. The topics covered on one of the panels centered around the adult population and consisted of experts from multiple services lines across Atrium Health. The second panel focused on questions regarding children with a group of representatives from Atrium Health Levine Children’s.

Members of the panel streamed live on Atrium Health’s Facebook page:

Members of the panel streamed live on Levine Children’s Facebook page:


Thursday, March 12, 2020

12:35 p.m.

On Thursday, March 12, public officials confirmed that there are two people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County. One is a county resident and the other resides outside of the county. Both are currently in isolation. Mecklenburg County will be issuing a full investigation and issuing quarantine orders for those who have been in close contact with those individuals.

Jim Hunter, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Atrium Health says that hospital staff are trained and ready to treat patients as the situation progresses. Watch the press conference below for more information. 

 


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

1:02 p.m. 

Additional Hospital Visitor Restrictions Now in Effect for Coronavirus Disease 2019 [Atrium Health]

In conjunction with six other regional health systems, Atrium Health is expanding visitor restrictions to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In light of Governor Cooper’s declaration of a state of emergency in North Carolina due to the virus, Atrium Health is taking this additional measure to protect the health of our patients, their loved ones and our medical staff.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020 

4:28 p.m.

[DOWNLOADABLE INFOGRAPHIC

Things to know about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infographic provided by Atrium Health 

3:34 p.m.

Governor Cooper Declares State of Emergency to Respond to Coronavirus COVID-19 [NC Governor Roy Cooper]

11:16 a.m. 

More Than Five People in North Carolina Test Positive for COVID-19 [NCDHHS]

On Monday, March 9, five more cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Wake County, North Carolina, bringing the state total to seven presumably positive cases. 


Friday, March 6, 2020

11:13 a.m.

Feeling Sick and Worried About Coronavirus? Here's What You Should Do [CHARLOTTE AGENDA]

Just a cough or a runny nose isn’t reason enough to think you have  COVID-19. It is allergy season after all.

But if you’re feeling under the weather — especially if you think there’s a chance you may have been exposed to COVID-19 — here are six things you can do, according to experts at Atrium Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

1:27 p.m.

Following the recent announcement about the first case of COVID-19 in the Carolinas on March 3, 2020, Dr. Katie Passaretti sat down to assure the public that the positive case in Wake County isn't cause for panic and goes on to list several preventative tips that everyone needs to know in order to keep you and your family healthy.

12:04 p.m.

According to the governor's office, the first case of COVID-19 has been identified in North Carolina. Officials say the man from Wake County contracted the virus during a visit to Washington state, where he was exposed to a long-term care facility at the center of the outbreak. Atrium Health's Dr. Katie Passaretti says that although this case was in Raleigh, we can expect that there is a possibility it will spread to Charlotte. Despite these chances, she assures the public not to worry and emphasized that Atrium Health is ready and prepared in the case it reaches the area.

Read WSOC coverage.

Governor Roy Cooper gives public announcement about first positive coronavirus cases in North Carolina.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

4:43 p.m.

North Carolina identifies its first case of COVID-19 in Wake County.

4:00 p.m. 

Community Resources

[*see bottom of page for full list of resources.]

  • The Centers for Disease Control has assembled a number of helpful resources that are able to be printed off and posted or shared with others about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Learn more about a variety of topics associated with COVID-19 on the CDC’s YouTube channel.
  • Mecklenburg County Public Health Department also lists resources on its page.

Dr. Katie Passaretti on WFAE 


What to Know About the Potentially Life-Threatening Virus Spreading Across the Globe

The World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Atrium Health Infectious Disease specialists are closely monitoring a rapidly evolving outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a new (novel) type of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that result in illnesses ranging from the common cold to potentially deadly effects. Katie Passaretti, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention at Atrium Health shares her answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the virus in addition to providing resources and safety tips for travelers who may be at-risk during this time.

Initial cases had some link to direct contact with a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, as the situation has evolved, the virus has developed the ability to be transmitted effectively from person-to-person including within the community and healthcare settings. While the CDC has declared that the public health threat posed by COVID-19 in the United States is high at this time, current individual risk is considered low. The level of individual risk is highly dependent on exposure to infected persons, who are being strictly quarantined and monitored when detected by healthcare workers and global health authorities.

Current estimates from the WHO of the total number of infections globally is over 81,000, with 2,718 deaths, as of February 26, 2020. Most of these cases have been identified in China, however over the past few days the number of new cases in areas outside of China have been greater than new cases within China.There is now evidence of sustained transmission in South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. In comparison, as of February 26, there have been 15 confirmed cases within the United States, with no reported deaths. These numbers are likely to continue to increase as we learn more. Deaths in China from COVID-19 have occurred primarily in individuals over the age of 65 with multiple health conditions.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing like many other respiratory viruses circulating this time of year.

If I have those symptoms, is it likely I have COVID-19?

First, there are multiple types of coronavirus, including the common cold, so if you go to the doctor and see that in your paperwork, don’t be alarmed.

Living here in the Carolinas, right now it’s far more likely that you would have the flu, which has many of the same symptoms, or another type of respiratory virus. There are no confirmed cases in the Carolinas (as of 2/28/2020)

(UPDATE: first case in N.C. declared in Wake County 3/3/2020). 

If you are concerned, you should consult with your healthcare provider. With the prevalence of flu and other viruses right now, many people are electing to do virtual visits. They can have a medical evaluation using the camera on their laptop, tablet or smartphone without having to go to the doctor’s office or urgent care center. If it’s determined you need medicine, they’ll call a prescription in to your pharmacy of choice.

How can I protect myself? 

We’re stressing to people to continue to take the common sense steps you would normally take to avoid catching a virus. Everyone should wash their hands frequently, cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough and stay home when they’re sick.

How is Atrium Health managing potential cases?

Currently the majority of cases in the United States have been returning travelers from areas with many cases. Currently, we identify at-risk patients initially by obtaining a good travel history. Any patient with fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness AND either travel from areas of the world known to have had a spike in cases within the 14 days prior to symptom onset OR close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is immediately moved to an isolated room and our staff begins taking additional precautions, including with their personal protective equipment while the person is evaluated by our infection prevention specialists.

How is testing done?

Testing patients who meet the criteria above is coordinated in consultation with the CDC. Infection Prevention at Atrium Health will assist with the coordination. The CDC recommends collecting specimens from the lower respiratory, upper respiratory and blood, so they would swab the patient’s throat and nose and obtain a blood sample. Other samples, such as phlegm, may be collected depending on the patient’s symptoms. This novel virus is not one that will be detected on our typical respiratory pathogen panel, so these tests are sent off to the state and /or the CDC for results. 

If I think I have COVID-19, where should I go?

Unless you have had travel to an area where COVID-19 is actively circulating, it is less likely that you have the virus. If you have had travel to affected areas or have a known contact with COVID-19 AND have fever/respiratory viral symptoms, it’s important that you call ahead to your provider. They can help you identify the best option for you. It’s also essential to do this so the necessary steps can be taken to evaluate and manage your condition without putting others at risk. Testing for COVID-19 is limited mostly to patients who are ill enough to be hospitalized or are a known contact of a patient with coronavirus. Asymptomatic individuals do not need to be tested even if risk factors. 


Additional Resources

As we learn more about this, new pathogen recommendations above may change. We will continue to update as the situation evolves.

Residents in North Carolina with questions or concerns about COVID-19 may call the newly established Coronavirus Line: 1-866-462-3821. The helpline number is staffed by North Carolina Poison Control 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Nurses and pharmacists handling the calls can help people know:

  • How COVID-19 is spread
  • Whether or not a person is at risk
  • What precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • What the symptoms are of COVID-19
  • What to do if COVID-19 is suspected

If you’re not feeling well, a great option to avoid spreading what you might have and possibly catching something else is a virtual visit. Using your home computer, tablet or smartphone, you can have a live consultation. Depending on your diagnosis, we can call a prescription in to your favorite pharmacy. Its fact, convenient and affordable.

People can also visit CDC's website for more information.


Community Resources

  • The Centers for Disease Control has assembled a number of helpful resources that are able to be printed off and posted or shared with others about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Learn more about a variety of topics associated with COVID-19 on the CDC’s YouTube channel.
  • Mecklenburg County Public Health Department also lists resources on its page.