FILE - North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell

North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell

(The Center Square) – North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell revealed Wednesday he has tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus.

Folwell was tested Monday and received the result late Tuesday night, he said. Folwell said he was dealing with a cough since March 16 that he believed to be his seasonal reaction to spring pollen. He monitored his temperature and saw no increase, but the cough worsened last weekend, so he consulted with a doctor and got tested.

"I have quarantined myself and will follow the advice of my physician as to when I will be medically cleared to return to the office," Folwell said in a statement. "The staff at the Department of State Treasurer has been notified and, starting today, only those absolutely necessary for continuing business services will be in our building."

Folwell's announcement comes on the same day North Carolina reported its first two deaths attributed to COVID-19. A man in his late 70s from Cabarrus County and a man in his 60s from Virginia died from COVID-19 complications.

As of Wednesday morning, NCDHHS reported 504 COVID-19 cases statewide.

The disease has caused at least 785 deaths in the U.S., with more than 55,000 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 symptoms appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Most people who have it develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually the elderly and those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.