RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Roy Cooper says a new state panel monitoring a new virus that has killed over 1,000 people in China will help keep North Carolina residents safe and informed about the disease.

The new Novel Coronavirus Task Force unveiled this week will be led by State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson and Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.

The panel’s chief job will be to continue coordinated activities between state and local agencies and the federal government, particularly the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cooper’s office said in a news release.

Cooper affirmed the risk to North Carolina from the new coronavirus discovered in 2019 remains low, and there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the state.

The Cooper news release said following preventive measures to avoid the flu — like washing hands thoroughly and covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve while sneezing — could prevent the spread of other viruses.

The Division of Public Health’s website has information on the new coronavirus. People with questions can also call a state hotline.

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