CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Last updated: March 11, 2020

Current News and Information

On Tuesday March 10, 2020 Governor Cooper and the members of the Cornoavirus task force held a media briefing on COVID-19. Governor Cooper has declared a State of Emergency to respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The declartion activates the Emergency Operations Center to help agencies coordinate from one location. Additionally the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) is making several recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the number of people infected.

"The health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that North Carolina is prepared and responding to this virus, and this order helps us do t hat." said Governor Cooper. "Though we are still in the early stages in North Carolina, time is a valuable resource and we mus towkr together to slow the spread while we can."

The following recommendations are being made for persons and establishments STATEWIDE.

HIGH-RISK PERSONS

NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid large groups of people as much as possible. This includes gatherings such as concert venues, conventions, church services, sporting events, and crowded social events. People at high risk should also avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

CONGREGATE LIVING FACILITIES 

NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should limit visitors and restrict all visitors who have respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. These establishments include: nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.

MASS GATHERING EVENTS

NC DHHS recommends that event organizers:

  • Urge anyone who is sick to not attend.
  • Encourage those who are at high risk, described above, to not attend.
  • Adopt lenient refund policies for people who are high risk.
  • Find ways to give people more physical space to limit close contact as much as possible.
  • Encourage attendees to wash hands frequently.
  • Clean surfaces with standard cleaners.

ALL TRAVELERS

NC DHHS recommends that all travelers returning from countries and US states impacted by COVID-19 follow DHHS guidance on self-monitoring: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/coronavirus

The following recommendations pertain to persons and establishments in the TRIANGLE area.

WORKPLACE SETTINGS

NC DHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, employers should:

  • Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.
  • Consider staggering start and end times to reduce large numbers of people coming together at the same time.

MASS GATHERINGS, COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL EVENTS

NC DHHS recommends that organizers of mass gathering events that primarily draw high-risk persons, including those that attract older adults, should consider cancelling or postponing these events.

Currently, NC DHHS is not recommending pre-emptive school closures.

The recommendations should begin immediately and extend through March 31, 2020. NC DHHS will monitor the situation closely to determine whether to extend the recommendations beyond March 31st.

 

NC211 is monitoring the situation and will be compiling and verifying information about the response and precautions on this page.

As this situation has been unfolding the best sources for information are the following websites:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)

Information and Resources for Health Professionals at North Carolina Public Health

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease that was identified in Wuhan, China, and is now being spread widely throughout the world. The health risk to the general public in North Carolina from COVID-19 remains low at this time. People are encouraged to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases.

What are some precautions I can take?

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds at a time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

These precautions are also helpful to prevent the spread of common illnesses such as influenza as well.

How does Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?

Cronoaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands.

What should I do if I think I have been exposed?

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, you may need to seek medical attention. Call your local health department for further guidance. Before going to a health care provider, clinic, hospital or emergency room, call ahead to tell them about your symptoms and how you think you may have been exposed to the virus.

In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Additional Resources and Links

Guidance for Business and Employers from NCDHHS

Guidance for Individuals and Families from NCDHHS

Guidance on Travel from the US Department of State

Facts about COVID-19 to help stop the spread of rumors