Preparation/Prevention

***all updates below are as of April 2, 2020, 3:00 PM

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.


SYMPTOMS

  • Call your doctor:  If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

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

  • The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

           -Fever
           -Cough
           -Shortness of breath
           -This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include
      -Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      -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

  • CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S.
     

  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
     

  • 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

    •     Avoid close contact with people who are sick

    •     Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
     
  • 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.).

 

IF YOU THINK YOU ARE SICK 

  • Call your doctor:  If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
     

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
     

  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
        -When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

  • If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
     

  • You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
     

  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
     

  • Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening or if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • 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.
  • Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
     

  • Wear a facemask when sick: Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
     

  • Alert health department: Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
     

  • Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
     

  • Stay at home until instructed to leave: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
     

  • Talk to your healthcare provider: The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
     

  • Individuals without health insurance, who are not feeling well, should
    •  First, call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. Note: FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.
    •  If you are not able to be seen at an FQCH, call your local health department.
    •  If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or call ahead then go to the Emergency Room.

 

TESTING (3/17/2020)

  • The NC State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) can perform testing for the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which allows NCDHHS to promptly identify and respond to any potential cases. North Carolina is using the test kit developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
     

  • COVID-19 tests are available as needed and it is not necessary for everyone to be tested for COVID-19 at this time.   
     

  • NCDHHS has expanded testing criteria for COVID-19. Only those who meet the following criteria should ask their doctor or local health department about being testing for COVID-19 through the NCSLPH: 
         -Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
        - Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test

     

  • Some commercial labs are now conducting tests. CDC provides recommended criteria to guide decisions on testing, but health care providers/clinicians will be able to order COVID-19 testing for individuals as they see fit.
     

  • If you feel you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, follow CDC guidelines to prevent further spread, and immediately contact your doctor or local health department. At that time, a clinician or a public health official will decide if a COVID-19 test is appropriate. 
     

  • NCDHHS is working closely with local health departments and health care providers to provide ongoing guidance for when testing is appropriate. People who have been identified as being in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 will be contacted by their local health department. 
     

  • Individuals without health insurance, who are not feeling well, should:
        -Call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.
        -If you are not able to be seen at an FQCH, call your local health department.
        -If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or call ahead then go to the Emergency Room.

  • Vidant does not have the ability to test for COVID-19 at this time.