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Johnston reports coronavirus death

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Johnston County has reported its first coronavirus death.

In a news release Friday morning, the Johnston County Public Health Department said the individual died March 26 from complications of the virus. The patient was in his or her mid-60s and had underlying medical conditions, the health department said.

“We are saddened to hear of this loss to our Johnston County community and extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones,” said Dr. Marilyn Pearson, director of the health department. “Although most people will have mild to moderate symptoms with this virus, some will have a more severe illness.

“This reminds us all to do our part to decrease the chance of infection and stop the spread of the virus by following social-distancing recommendations and staying home to the extent possible.”

Pearson said the Centers for Disease Control had recently updated who is at high risk for severe illness from the coronavirus. Those are people who:

• Are 65 or older.

• Live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.

• Have a high-risk condition, including chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; heart disease with complications; a compromised immune system; severe obesity, defined as a body mass index of 40 or higher; or another underlying condition, particularly if not controlled well, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease.

In addition, while pregnant women do not appear to be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness in general.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, Johnston County had 11 confirmed coronavirus cases.

To stay up to date on COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus or text COVIDNC to 898211. Call 2-1-1 (or 888-892-1162) for general questions or for help finding human services resources.

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