Raleigh restaurant professionally sanitized days after coronavirus patient dined in private room

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Cameron Village restaurant announced Wednesday night, that the Wake County Department of Health and Human Services told the restaurant the county's first coronavirus patient ate there Saturday evening.

So-Ca Raleigh said health officials told them the infected patient, who flew into Raleigh-Durham International Airport in late February, ate there February 29 or March 1.

The restaurant owner said the restaurant has since been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

"The gentleman sat in our private dining room. So I personally cleaned that room to kind of minimize the number of people back there," owner Sean Degnan said.

WATCH: Full interview with Sean Degnan, owner of So-Ca
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Sean Degnan, owner of So-Ca Raleigh, told ABC11 he personally helped sanitize and disinfect the restaurant.



"We were able to bleach, rinse and sanitize every piece of silver, glassware, plate, table, door handle, touch screen, etc. and Lysol every chair and cushion before dinner service. You name it, it got cleaned and sanitized today. This is the cleanest restaurant in the Triangle tonight," Degnan wrote in an Instagram post.

"We went ahead and kind of tore apart the whole restaurant and sanitized everything," Degnan said in the phone interview. "So that's what we did all day yesterday and I had bleach on my clothes."

In addition, Degnan said the restaurant hired a professional cleaning company that used hospital grade products that kill germs in seconds to thoroughly disinfect the eatery.

So-Ca said it has since followed guidelines given by the WCDHHS to limit exposure to customers.

Wake County HHS is mostly concerned with people who had sustained contact within a 6-foot-radius of the infected person for 10 or more minutes on Saturday evening, the eatery said in a Facebook post.

The restaurant asked anyone who has experienced mild to severe respiratory illness since their visit is asked to contact the Wake County Department of Health and Human Services at (919) 250-4462.



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"We already had a list of everyone that sat near that gentleman using Open Table, our reservation system, and our point of sale," Degnan said. "So they had the ability to reach out then to everyone that possibly could have been in contact with him."

The Wake County Health Department told employees who served the man to see a doctor, and all tested negative for the virus.

Thursday, Christ the King Lutheran Church senior pastor Rev. Dr. Wolfgang Herz-Lane said the Wake County patient is a member of his Cary congregation. However, Herz-Lane did not clarify when the man last attended church services or activities.

In a Wednesday news conference, Wake County Public Health Director Chris Kippes said the coronavirus patient is doing well and is in isolation at home.

Area agencies, events take precautions
Though the Wake County HHS advised organizers not to cancel festivals and events, some are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of disease.

In a news release Thursday, BrickUniverse LEGO Convention said it will not cancel its event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center. However, organizers said they are taking several measures to stymie the spread of disease.

For example, organizers said several interactive attractions and building areas with LEGO displays. "There will be less things to touch at the event and instead, more epic LEGO things to see," organizers wrote in the release.

Staff will also wear gloves during the event and will not be using hand stamps for event re-entry.

Wake County Courts also said officials are taking precautions as recommended by state and local health departments.

In a news release, Wake County Courts said it will use video conference court hearings and encourage employees who are sick or who have sick family members to stay home.

Health officials stressed no need to panic
If you have questions surrounding the coronavirus, you can call the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services at (866) 462-3821 or visit its coronavirus website.

You can also call your county health department. use this link to find your appropriate office.

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