Special to Iredell Free News

The Iredell County Health Department is working under the guidance of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health (NC DHHS-DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases in North Carolina pop and the risk to the general public in North Carolina remains low.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to severe respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness in mainland China. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and severe illness.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is spread through coughing and sneezing, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, or through close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands. If you have traveled to affected areas outside the United States where COVID-19 outbreaks have been identified and feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing within two-weeks of travel, please seek medical care right away.

Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency department, please call ahead and let them know about your recent travel and your symptoms so appropriate steps can be taken to avoid exposing others.

The risk to the general public in North Carolina, especially if you have not recently traveled to the illness- affected areas, is considered very low at this time and there are no additional precautions recommended at this time.

The best way to stop the spread of germs, including flu, are:
• Washing 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
• Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

For general questions about COVID-19 call: 1-866-462-3821

The Iredell County Health Department maintains the capacity to respond to all types of emergent situations. 

The Iredell County Health Department works with both the emergency response community and medical providers to address public health situations. On February 27, 2020, the Iredell County Health Department led the Iredell County Healthcare Preparedness Committee meeting to review plans and procedures related to the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. The Health Department makes it a priority to continue sharing up-to-date information with the medical community, businesses and industries, schools, and the general community as it becomes available.

The Iredell County Health Department will continue to work closely under the direction of NC DHHS-DPH and the CDC to provide guidance and best practices for healthcare and other settings. It is a priority of the Health Department to be prepared to respond if a case should be reported locally. We will continue to share information about this novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as it continues to evolve.

Additional information related to COVID-19 can be found at the following resources:

NC DHHS-DPH: epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/2019nCoV.html
CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
Iredell County Health Department: https://www.co.iredell.nc.us/161/Health-Department North Carolina Public Information Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

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