COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

What you should know about the coronavirus!

Coronavirus is a category of viruses that includes the one that causes the common cold. Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel (new or unknown) coronavirus. As the number of cases grow across the US and in NC, it is important to be informed!N

New CDC Recommendation on Wearing Cloth Face Coverings
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. For information on how to wear cloth face coverings, and even how to make them, visit the CDC website.

Guidance on Testing for COVID-19 - Update March 24, 2020
Individuals who believe they have COVID-19 symptoms and/or have been in close contact with a COVID positive individual should SELF-ISOLATE and CALL their healthcare provider, our Health Department at (252) 641-7511 or the state’s 24/7 hotline 1-866-462-3821 where you will receive guidance on next steps, which may include testing or self-monitoring. 

Do not just show up to a doctor's office, Health Department or the Emergency Room to be tested. Per CDC guidelines and regulations, testing is only for individuals who meet specific criteria set by the CDC: 1) symptomatic AND close contact with confirmed COVID positive individual; 2) symptomatic AND negative flu or RSV test AND clinical suspicion of COVID; or 3) symptomatic AND requiring hospitalization for serious medical needs.

People who do not meet these criteria cannot be tested.  Visiting your doctor's office, the Health Department or the Emergency Room to be tested when you have no symptoms could increase your risk of exposure and put an unnecessary strain on resources for those who need them most. 

The vast majority (80%) of people who contract COVID-19 will have mild to moderate disease and symptoms and can be managed at home, in isolation.  Most will not require hospitalization; symptoms are often mild enough that one can recover at home, which will help prevent the spread to others and allow hospitals to focus their resources on the critically ill. 

For emergent medical needs (ex: severe shortness of breath, severe dehydration, changes in mental status or other life-threatening conditions), calling 9-1-1 or going to your nearest emergency room is, of course, appropriate, but calling ahead is strongly encouraged if possible if you believe you have COVID-19 symptomsCalling ahead will help the EMS responders prepare and the emergency department route you through the appropriate entrance to reduce exposure to other patients and staff.

Read the following information from the Centers for Disease Control....
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

 For additional information and frequently asked questions pertaining to COVID-19 (coronavirus) please access the NC Department of Health & Human Services website at:

Important Links
Older people & people with chronic diseases are at higher risk
How to keep your workplace, school and home safe