RALEIGH, N.C. – State officials on Thursday said the state has crossed an unfortunate milestone in its battle against coronavirus.

Officials say someone in Wilson County contracted the disease through community transmission, i.e. without traveling outside of the state or coming into contact with a person who was known to be infected. Gov. Roy Cooper said health officials are not surprised by the development.

“This is an expected but still unfortunate benchmark,” he said.

The community-transmitted case means state health officials now regard their mission as one of mitigation rather than containment.

N.C. Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen said the case reinforces the importance of minimizing social contacts while the pandemic continues. She said state officials in the next day or two will ask for volunteers among doctors and nurses who don't work in hospitals who might be able to help with COVID-19 treatment and prevention.

Cooper said he now expects schools will remain closed beyond the March 30 date his original order specified. Beyond that, health officials said they don't yet expect any curfews or shelter-in-place orders. Cohen said officials would prefer not to put more stringent measures in place but will continue to monitor what is needed.​