Statement from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: On Thursday, March 19, the NCDHHS reported its first documented case of COVID-19 community spread in Wilson County, meaning this person didn’t have contact with someone who had tested positive or traveled to a highly-impacted area. Confirmed community spread is a signal that officials need to further accelerate the next phase of the work.
North Carolina has already been taking actions as if community spread had already occurred to get ahead of the virus. Governor Roy Cooper has taken aggressive actions to limit large gathers, close restaurants and bars with the goal of flattening the curve – the idea is to lessen the number of people who get sick at the same time and avoid overwhelming hospitals and health care system.
And as the state moves into this next phase, plans need to continue to reduce the chances for further spread and exposure and protect the health care system, so it is there when you need it.
Protecting the health care workforce and making sure they have the protective equipment they need is paramount. NCDHHS is asking hospitals to stop elective surgeries. Testing for people with mild illness will also become less important as the transition to this next phase occurs. Officials want to reduce the chances that people will be exposed to the virus or expose others. State officials will begin to deploy other surveillance methods to understand the spread of the virus and drive the decision-making.
NCDHHS understands this a challenging time, but it is important to remember that the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 will have mild illness and will recover at home.
There are several resources to help you navigate these challenging times.
• NC 2-1-1 by United Way of North Carolina is now available for people to call for assistance related to the COVID-19 coronavirus
• COVID-19 text information and updates are available. To sign up, text COVIDNC to 898211.
• The NCDHHS website, www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, publishes regular updates, including new guidance that is developed, information about Executive Orders, and other important information.