An 81-year-old man is the first person to die from coronavirus in Wake County, officials reported Wednesday afternoon.

It’s unclear where the man lived or if he was a resident at one of the two healthcare facilities in the county that have reported outbreaks. Wake County officials declined to provide additional details into the matter. 

“It’s heart-breaking,” said Wake County Human Services director Regina Petteway. “My deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones, and I know that everyone working to slow the spread of this virus shares that sentiment.”

As of Wednesday, the state has lost 117 people to the virus out of more than 5,100 confirmed cases. Nationally, more than a 600,000 people have contracted the virus and 27,000 have died.

It’s not all bad news: Governor Roy Cooper noted Monday social distancing methods are working at slowing the curve of the virus in North Carolina. Although the number of hospitalizations due to the virus continues to rise, the doubling rate of infections has started to slow. 

“We must continue to do all we can individually to make a collective difference in the impact COVID-19 has on our community,” Petteway said. “And that means staying at home.”

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at

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