Coronavirus Triggers NC State Of Emergency, Efforts To Expand Testing

Mar 10, 2020

North Carolina is now operating under a State of Emergency.  With seven presumptive cases of Coronavirus as of midday on Tuesday, state officials say it’s a critical moment in the outbreak.  The declaration comes as test kits are on backorder and the number of cases is expected to rise.

Right now, the only way a person in North Carolina can get tested for COVID-19 is to have a fever and respiratory issues -- and have traveled recently to affected geographic areas.

Governor Roy Cooper says officials want to change that and expand the criteria for testing. 

"They’re working as hard as they can to find new ways of testing and find other sources.  For example, even though we have a shortage of supply to run these tests, we also have another way we can do it that doesn’t require those supplies that we’re working on to try to get approved that would allow us to open the criteria even more… We are encouraging private labs to continue to produce tests so we can be more widespread."

State health officials say they still have a lot to learn about the virus – including whether there will be a seasonality decrease – similar to the tendency of cold and flu cases to drop off when the season ends. 

But so far, says authorities, children appear to be at low risk.  

For more information on the Coronavirus and North Carolina's response, follow this link:

https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina

From NC Department of Health and Human Services:

There are some common sense measures everyone can take to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water 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.

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.

It is not recommended that people wear masks if they are well or stockpile them. Masks should be worn by people who are sick to prevent the spread of infection.