Public Health Director advises Chatham County community to act now to slow spread of Wuhan Coronavirus

Pittsboro, NC – As three additional Chatham County residents test positive for COVID-19 (six overall), Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long strongly advises residents to act with urgency to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long

“Because of the infectiousness of the new coronavirus, we expect the number of cases to continue to rise,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Layton Long. Long states, “I urge the public not to focus on specific confirmed case counts but rather, as a result of known community transmission occurring in NC, those things that we all can do collectively to slow the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and those at higher risk of serious illness: stay home and away from public places to the fullest extent possible, practice social distancing if you do have to go out, do not go out, if you are having symptoms (call your doctor), and wash your hands and sanitize surfaces that may have come into contact with others before touching them.”

The Chatham County Public Health Department continues to urge all residents to take these important measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus: Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, and stay home and away from others if you become ill except to seek medical care. Health officials also encourage everyone to limit close contact with others and avoiding groups. These steps are important for everyone and especially those at high risk of severe illness, specifically anyone over 65 years old or anyone who has an underlying health condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, obesity or a weakened immune system. That said, there are growing reports of serious illness among younger individuals with no known health conditions.

“As the degree of community transmission increases and the number of cases grows, our capacity to follow up with individual cases and everyone who might be a close contact to a case becomes more and more limited,” said Long. “In addition, critical supplies like masks and other protective equipment for healthcare and public health staff, as well as first responders, must be prioritized to treat and protect those at highest risk of serious illness. This cannot be stressed enough; all Chatham County residents must practice social distancing, limiting in-person contact with others and washing their hands often. We all have the power to reduce the spread of this virus, but we must act now.”

The Chatham County Public Health Department was notified of the positive tests March 24, 2020, by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. To protect privacy, no further information about these individuals will be shared.

For future updates on confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in North Carolina and Chatham County, visit For more information about the virus and Chatham County’s response, please visit