Everyone knew it was just a matter of time and now that time is here.

On Tuesday, March 17, Guilford County officials announced that the first case of the coronavirus was found in the county.

The Guilford County Division of Public Health has confirmed this initial case of COVID-19 – the novel coronavirus that was first found in China in late 2019. The person carrying the virus had traveled to Orlando, Florida, before the onset of symptoms.

Before this new case, the closest confirmed instance of the virus to Guilford County was in neighboring Forsyth County.

According to the March 17 press release from Guilford County, “The patient began experiencing symptoms upon their return from out of state travel. The patient presented to their primary care doctor for testing and went into immediate self-isolation. Guilford County Public Health is in continual communication with the patient who is doing well.”

Dr. Iulia Vann, Guilford County’s brand new interim health director, said that residents can expect to see more cases in this county.

“Since we have this first confirmed case, we anticipate additional positive testing,” she stated in the Tuesday press release. “The county is heavily monitoring this case and will continue to address future cases as they arise. It continues to be important for the community to follow the preventive measures outlined by the CDC and contact their primary care doctors if they are experiencing symptoms.”

Along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the Guilford County health department is following up directly with all individuals who’ve had close contact with the person and who are therefore at risk of infection.

CDC guidance to the county indicates that people who have had “casual contact” with this person – for example, were near them in a grocery store – are at “minimal risk of developing infection.”

The statement from the county adds, “According to county health officials, at this point there is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred in Guilford County. No additional details about the case will be released at this time.”

For more information on the virus, people can visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NC Department of Health and Human Services website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

For answers to questions, people can call the COVID-19 hot line toll-free at 866-462-3821. That line is open 24 hours a day, every day.