Town Talk 03/04/20: Harrison, G-V Public Health Director, Discusses Coronavirus

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Lisa Harrison, director of Granville-Vance Public Health, appeared on WIZS Town Talk Wednesday at 11 a.m.

In light of recent news that North Carolina’s first case of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in nearby Wake County, Harrison addressed the local health department’s response to the disease.

“Viruses change over time, and this is an emerging situation,” explained Harrison. “We at Granville-Vance Public Health are paying close attention daily to information that comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Division of Public Health, the State Health Director and our whole epidemiology team who are very involved right now with our response in the United States and in North Carolina.”

According to the CDC, coronavirus, much like a cold or the flu, can spread between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those suffering from the virus are thought to be at least mildly contagious before showing symptoms but are more likely to infect others when they are the most symptomatic.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed cases. Symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, may appear 2-14 days after initial exposure.

The CDC recommends contacting a healthcare provider if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled to an area with an ongoing spread such as China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea. Your healthcare provider will work with the public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

While not a time to panic, Harrison said it is important that residents seek credible sources for COVID-19 updates and take precautions to avoid exposure including:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water (at least 20 seconds each time)
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed or washed hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or bend of the arm when sneezing or coughing
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the knowledge of your public health service,” Harrison said. “The most important thing to stress to individuals and families in Vance and Granville County is that everyone needs to continue to take precautions to protect themselves from the spread of any respiratory illness, including the flu and colds.”

A toll-free helpline has been established for those with questions about COVID-19 and can be reached by calling 1-866-462-3821.

You may also find additional information by visiting the Granville-Vance Public Health website at and the CDC website at

To hear the interview with Harrison in its entirety, go to and click on Town Talk.

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