First death from COVID-19 reported in New Hanover County

Posted April 12, 2020 at 2:38 pm     Category: Emergency ManagementEmergency NewsNews ReleasePublic Health

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health officials learned today of the first confirmed death in New Hanover County from COVID-19. The individual was a New Hanover County resident in their 40’s and passed away on April 12, 2020. To protect the privacy of this individual and their family, no other information will be shared.

“It is heartbreaking to hear the news of one of our residents passing away from COVID-19, and my deepest sympathy goes to their family and friends,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “This is a stark reminder of the seriousness of COVID-19, and I urge residents to continue to abide by the recommendations of our health officials to protect one another. This reinforces more than ever why we must do everything we can to prevent further spread of this virus in New Hanover County.”

Residents should stay home and only go out for essential services, work, goods, volunteer activities, or outdoor exercise. The New Hanover County Stay At Home order is currently under review by local officials and updates will be shared publicly prior to the order expiring on Monday, April 13 at 5 p.m.

“My heart goes out to this individual’s family,” said New Hanover County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte. “Our collective work to stop the spread of COVID-19 is extremely important. While 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild, the other 20 percent of cases can have a much more serious illness. That’s why this virus has to be taken seriously. We all have to be diligent in doing everything we can because each of us individually plays a part in slowing the spread of this virus.”

As of April 12, there have been 59 total lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County, and of those there are 26 people still ill and experiencing symptoms, one death and 32 who have recovered. The number of lab confirmed cases does not represent all possible cases in our community, due to testing criteria and the CDC’s recommendation that people with mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 do NOT need testing and should stay at home to recover.

Slow the Spread

Steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Comply with the Governor’s Stay at Home Order and New Hanover County restrictions.
  • Wear Cloth Face Coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Stay home unless you must travel for essential purposes. If you must leave your home, follow proper physical distancing protocols: don’t gather in groups of more than 10 and stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if you are an essential worker. And cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).


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