RDU travelers react to 1st coronavirus case in NC


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Tuesday, state leaders announced the first novel coronavirus case in North Carolina.

A Wake County resident recently returned home from Washington state. According to the governor and state health officials, the person had been at the long-term care facility where nine people have died from the virus.

It’s not clear why the person was in Washington.

Several people were wearing face masks at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Tuesday, including Nolan Trung.

Trung returned to Wake County Tuesday after traveling to Seattle to take pictures for his photography portfolio.

“It was beautiful. I got some decent shots that I like. I loved it,” said Trung.

When he turned his phone back on after landing at RDU Tuesday evening, he saw the news about the novel coronavirus case in Wake County.

“So it’s kind of scary. I feel like I put this mask on for the right reason and I’m glad I did,” said Trung.

RDU said the person who tested positive for coronavirus traveled through the airport on February 22.

“The health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

Cooper said the person affected is doing well and is isolated at their home in Wake County. The person won’t be released until their symptoms are gone.

“We’ve been preparing for this and we do expect to see more cases in North Carolina,” said Cooper.

The governor’s appointed a task force that’s working with public health experts.

They’re also finding out who else was on the plane or in close contact with the affected person at RDU.

“You tend to come home on a flight and if you hear people coughing, you kind of go like this, but no, we weren’t particularly worried about that virus,” said Wendy Penke.

The Penkes flew back from Washington Tuesday night. They said they’ve researched the virus and know it has a low fatality rate.

More than 80 percent of people affected have minor symptoms.

“The only thing we’ve been thinking and we’ll see what happens is, ‘gee there might be some really good deals coming up on travel’ because so many people are not going to be traveling,” said Penke.

Although some people are wearing face masks at the airport, the CDC only recommends people who show symptoms of coronavirus wear a face mask along with health workers.

Click on these websites for more tips on how to stay safe and what the airport recommends for travelers.

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