Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has formalized the state’s ongoing effort to monitor, prepare for and respond to the 2019 novel coronavirus (CoVID-19) with the creation of a state Novel Coronavirus Task Force.
The task force will continue to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and coordinate across state agencies to protect the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians.
The task force will be chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, North Carolina State health director and the chief medical officer for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) for the Department of Public Safety.
“Though currently the risk to North Carolinians is low, we are taking a proactive approach and are prepared for potential scenarios,” Cooper said. “This task force will continue coordination between our agencies and federal partners so we can keep the public informed and safe.”
Currently, DHHS is working with local health departments and clinicians to evaluate any potential cases and coordinate care and testing as needed. Working closely with the CDC, the department is coordinating health information sharing as this situation continues to evolve. North Carolina has not had any confirmed cases of the virus.
The task force agencies will continue coordinating communications with local entities through the Department of Public Safety and its NCEM division’s traditional channels as needed.
The risk to the general public in North Carolina, especially without history of travel to China, is still considered very low at this time.
Remember that the steps to take to prevent the spread of flu and the common cold could also help prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses like 2019-nCoV:
♦ Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
♦ Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
♦ Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
♦ Stay home when you are ill.
People who have questions or concerns related to 2019-nCoV can call 866-462-3821 for more information. Press 1 for English or to ask for a language interpreter. Spanish speakers should press 2. To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “Chat.”