NCDDHS COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information
What is a coronavirus? What is COVID-19?How does it spread and what can I do to prevent it from spreading?Should I wear a mask?Should I worry about opening packages from places where there’s been an outbreak?Can you get COVID-19 from touching contaminated objects?Is a vaccine available?
COVID-19 Symptoms
What are the symptoms?What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu. They are:
Shortness of breath
Link to all questions provided below
COVID-19 typically causes mild to moderate respiratory illness. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, although there have been reports of severe illness with a small percentage resulting in death. Respiratory symptoms alone are not an indicator for COVID-19.
When do symptoms appear?Can COVID-19 be spread before someone has symptoms?What treatments are available?
Am I at risk? Who is considered a high-risk individual?Am I at risk? Who is considered a high-risk individual?
The immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general American public who has not traveled to an area with sustained community transmission of COVID-19 nor had contact with a confirmed case is considered low at this time. However, everyone should take precautions to prevent the spread of respiratory illness.
People are most at risk if they've had contact with a symptomatic person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have traveled to an area affected by a COVID-19 outbreak.
No one group, ethnicity or population in the U.S. is at a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19 infection than others. Older people and those with underlying health conditions are considered to be at high risk because they are more likely to experience serious illness if they become infected.
I had contact with someone who traveled to an area with sustained community transmission of COVID-19. Should I be worried?
I have recently traveled. What should I do?I have recently traveled. What should I do?
If you traveled to an area with sustained community transmission of COVID-19 and do NOT feel sick: Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you develop symptoms within 14 days of travel to an affected area, you should contact a healthcare provider by phone before going to their office.
If you traveled to an area with sustained community transmission of COVID-19 and feel sick: People who are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath and have visited an affected area or had close contact with someone who is suspected to be infected with COVID-19 in the past 14 days should seek medical attention.Before you go to the doctor’s office, emergency room or urgent care, call ahead and tell them your symptoms and recent travel history.
Avoid contact with others.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Do not travel while sick.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
I have a trip planned. Should I still go?
Precautions and Preparations
What should older adults do to protect themselves?What should older adults do to protect themselves?
Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease and those with weakened immune systems seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Learn more about what these high-risk individuals in North Carolina should do.
What about visiting nursing homes and elder care facilities?How can my household prepare for an outbreak?What cleaning products should I use to prevent the spread of COVID-19? What should be cleaned?How long will COVID-19 remain on surfaces?
How is COVID-19 diagnosed?How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
The CDC has developed a laboratory test for this virus and private labs such as LabCorp and Quest now have the ability to test for routine healthcare providers. Testing is also available at the NC State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) will continue to be coordinated through the NC Division of Public Health’s Communicable Disease Branch for individuals who meet criteria for a person under investigation.
Should I get tested?Why are we not testing more?
Know Your Terms
Who is social distancing recommended for? Should we all be social distancing?Who is social distancing recommended for? Should we all be social distancing?
Social distancing or maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet away from others is recommended at this point on a community level. 
What is the difference between self-monitoring, isolation and quarantine?How is it decided when a person with COVID-19 can self-isolate at home or must be confined somewhere?Someone has returned from an area of sustained community transmission of COVID-19. Can I require them to be tested before returning to my facility?
North Carolina Response
Where can I find out how many COVID-19 cases are in North Carolina?
Case counts can be found 
How is North Carolina preparing for and responding to COVID-19? What did the governor’s emergency declaration and executive order do?
Schools and Child Care Centers
Why are schools closed?Why are schools closed?
On March 14, Governor Roy Cooper orderedOpen PDF all K-12 public schools in North Carolina to close for a minimum of two weeks in response to COVID-19. 
The Executive Order directs all public schools to close beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for at least two weeks. The two-week period allows time for North Carolina to further understand the impact of COVID-19 across the state and develop a plan for continued learning for students should a longer closure be needed. Governor Cooper made the decision in consultation with State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson, and NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.
Governor Cooper has appointed an Education and Nutrition Working Group to develop a plan to ensure that children and families are supported while schools are closed. The working group will focus on issues including nutrition, health, childcare access for critical health care and other front-line workers and learning support for children at home.
What is being done to encourage employers to allow their employees to telework and/or expand sick leave options?What is being done to encourage employers to allow their employees to telework and/or expand sick leave options?
NCDHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel to reduce and slow the spread of COVID-19 infection. Other information for North Carolina businessses can be found here.
Where can I get the latest information on COVID-19?Where can I get the latest information on COVID-19?
Visit the NCDHHS website,, and check the Updates page. You should also visit the CDC website for the latest information at
Who can I call?
Public Events
How does COVID-19 affect public events?How does COVID-19 affect public events?
On March 14, Governor Roy Cooper orderedOpen PDF the cancelation of all mass gatherings that bring together more than 100 people in a single room or space, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater, or other confined indoor or outdoor space, including parades, fairs and festivals. Violations of the order are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The ban on gatherings does not include airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and spaces where people may be in transit. Office environments, restaurants, factories, or retail or grocery stores are also excluded.

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