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While risk is low, DHHS asks North Carolinians to continue to plan ahead for the Coronavirus

Governor Roy Cooper’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Task Force held a media briefing Wednesday to answer questions, and encourage businesses, schools, health care providers, communities and individuals to prepare for the possibility of the spread of the virus here.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

Still the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that Americans should be anticipating and preparing for the possibility of widespread COVID-19 in the United States.

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“NCDHHS has been coordinating with the CDC and state and local partners to prepare for COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak in China,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer for NCDHHS. “We are asking North Carolinians to continue to plan ahead for the possibility of the spread of the infection, while the risk for North Carolina is currently low.”

So what steps should you take?

Here’s what state officials recommend:

Individuals, Families and Communities

  • NCDHHS recommends everyone continue taking precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses, which includes COVID-19.
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each 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.
  • It is also good practice to start being more aware of the number of times a day your hands touch an object or hard surface and then touch your face without being washed. Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth and eyes to unwashed hands can help to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.
  • Have a plan in case you need to miss work or other responsibilities due to personal illness or to care for a sick family member.
  • For pregnant women and children, review the information and guidance available on the CDC website.

Businesses and Employers

  • Practice good hand hygiene and encourage your employees and patrons to take common-sense precautions to protect themselves from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review your policies and procedures for remote or teleworking where possible.
  • Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences.
  • Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.
  • If you have not already, establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Look for more updates and guidance for businesses available on the CDC website.

 

Health Care Providers and Hospitals

  • Review policies and procedures for infection prevention and mitigation, and make sure that all employees are aware of and following the appropriate steps.
  • Consider how to maximize the use of telemedicine, nurse triage lines and other options to prevent sick people from coming to clinics and emergency rooms if they have mild illness and do not need treatment.
  • Continue implementing the NCDHHS and CDC guidance for COVID-19 and continue working closely with your local health department and NCDHHS.
  • Look for more updates and information for health care professionals on the CDC website.

College, Universities, K-12 Schools and Child Care Facilities

  • Make sure all students, faculty and staff are aware of and practicing good hand hygiene and taking common-sense precautions to protect from the spread of respiratory illnesses.
  • Review absenteeism policies and procedures to make sure students or children, faculty and staff are not being encouraged to attend or work if they are sick.
  • If you have not already, establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19.
  • Learn more about COVID-19 on the CDC website, and look for updates and information for schools, colleges and childcare.

Learn more here.

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