COVID Resources

Information Current as of 11:00pm on March 23, 2020. 

North Carolina’s response to COVID-19 will continue to rapidly evolve. The most up to date information and guidance can be found at:

The respiratory disease named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”), caused by a novel coronavirus named “SARS-CoV-2”, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.

North Carolina now has community transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, we are moving to a different phase of our response efforts and will be further increasing our population-based community mitigation strategies. The goal of mitigation is to decrease spread of the virus among our population – especially for those who are at highest risk of clinical severity, and our health care workers – so fewer people need medical care at the same time. In addition, we need to implement strategies to conserve supplies and capacity so our health care workers can care for people who need medical attention even during the peak of the outbreak.

SYMPTOMS

From the CDC: Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. More information on Are you at higher risk for serious illness?

Know How it Spreads

  • 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.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Clean Your Hands Often!

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid Close Contact

HOW TO PROTECT OTHERS

Stay Home, if You Are Sick

Cover Coughs and Sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a Facemask, if You Are Sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and Disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • To disinfect: Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
    • Options include:
      • Diluting your household bleach.
        To make a bleach solution, mix:

        • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
          OR
        • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

        Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

      • Alcohol solutions. Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
      • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
        Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

TESTING

Testing at the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) is available with prior approval by the local health department for the county of the health care facility, or the state epidemiologist on call. Patients must meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered for testing at NCSLPH:

  1. Fever OR signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) in any person, including healthcare worker, who has had close contact3 with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset.

OR

  1. Fever AND signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) AND negative influenza test (rapid or PCR) and no other more likely diagnosis.

Prior approval by public health is not required for commercial lab testing. Family Care does have the ability to test for COVID-19 on a limited basis. Clinicians will use their clinical judgement and prioritize testing of patients with more severe respiratory symptoms; patients for whom clinical management would be different if they were infected with COVID-19; patients in high-risk settings (e.g., congregate care settings, long term care); and health care workers and first responders.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

Initially, contact your primary care provider’s office by phone (919-544-6461), portal message, or email (contact@familycarepa.com). Describe your symptoms, their duration, your potential exposure, and any other health concerns you’re having. Your PCP’s staff will screen you for immediate need and then direct you to one of these resources:

  • Schedule a phone appointment with your primary care provider.
  • Contact the UNC Health Alliance COVID Hotline for additional screening.
  • Contact the State Health Department to arrange immediate testing.
  • Proceed immediately to the nearest Emergency Room.

Patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should self-isolate for:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and…
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Patients with clinical COVID-19 infection do NOT need a negative COVID-19 test result to document recovery. Additional criteria for discontinuing isolation may be required for patients requiring hospital admission.

Close contacts of a person with known or suspected COVID-19 should self-monitor their temperature and symptoms of COVID-19, limit outside interaction as much as possible for 14 days, and self-isolate if they develop symptoms.