First patient in Swain County tests positive for COVID-19


The novel coronavirus COVID-19, a sometimes deadly respiratory virus, has made its way to Swain County. A part-time resident has tested positive and they have been isolated since symptoms appeared, said Alison Cochran, Swain County Department Health Director at the Swain County Board of Commissioners special called meeting Friday morning.

Since they are a part-time resident, the case will be identified from their home state not in North Carolina. The health department confirmed the patient lives on the Qualla Boundary, stating that it could issue that information since Chief Richard Sneed has already done so. Beyond that, questions such as the state the individual traveled from are not being released. 

The person is doing well and following isolation orders at their home in Swain County, according to a press release issued by the health department.

Cochran confirmed the person did travel to Swain County and said they were here for about a week before they showed symptoms.

Cochran said the county, as of Friday morning, had 5-10 additional COVID-19 tests that it was waiting for the results on and that it’s taking at least a week to get those results back for those testing in Swain County.

She also shared the most recent information on COVID-19 released by the state yesterday afternoon. Across North Carolina, there are 638 cases in 57 counties and the average age of those testing positive for the virus is 41 years old. There are 50 hospitals treating patients and there have been two deaths, one in Cabarrus County and one was a patient from Virginia.

The US Centers for Disease Control guidance is being followed in Swain County. Healthcare workers and emergency management personnel who may have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient are self-monitoring for any symptoms.

People who develop mild symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 are being encouraged to stay home and to call their doctor before going to a healthcare facility to help deter the extremely contagious virus from spreading.

“Regardless of whether you have been tested or not, the recommendation is if you feel ill, you should self isolate, and there’s no need to get tested or see the doctor unless you’re sick, sick,”said Amber Frost, Swain County assistant health director/director of nursing.

Most people with COVID-19 will have mild illness and be able to recover at home. Those who develop signs of complications, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or are bluish in the lips or face should seek medical care. If they have a medical emergency, they are encouraged to call 911.