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Chairman: Wake County to issue stay-at-home order

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RALEIGH — Wake County is expected to issue a stay-at-home order this week, after North Carolina announced its first deaths related to COVID-19.

"For the past two days, Wake County Commissioners and staff from the County Manager's office have been in close contact with state and local public health officials, leaders from local hospital and mayors and municipal managers from each of Wake County's 15 towns and cities," tweeted Greg Ford, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, on Wednesday. "We are also having crucial conversations with our local business community. County staff have been working with urgency on a draft declaration based on that input, and we will make an announcement at a press conference (Thursday)."

More information will be shared later Wednesday, Ford said.

The county has 73 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning. North Carolina saw its first COVID-19 associated death Tuesday in Cabarrus County. The patient was in their late 70s and had several underlying health conditions, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

A second person in their 60s, from Virginia who was traveling through North Carolina, also died from COVID-19 complications. 

Durham County announced a stay-at-home order Wednesday. Mecklenburg County issued a stay-at-home order Tuesday that takes effect Thursday at 8 a.m. and lasts for the next 21 days.

The town of Beaufort, and Madison and Pitt counties, also issued stay-at-home orders earlier in the week.

These orders ask everyone stay home who is able to do so. Exceptions are made for employees in health care, food service and other essential services. Exceptions are also made for grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions or going for a walk or other outdoor exercise.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details are made available.