Coronavirus Tips And Resources
Here are some resources if you have questions about the new coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak.
Who Do I Call/Where Do I Go If I Have Questions?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is posting updates and resources at CDC.gov/coronavirus.
North Carolina Health and Human Services is posting updates on the coronavirus at NCDHHS.gov, and the department has a 24/7 call center for coronavirus questions. That number is 866-462-3821.
South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control is posting updates at SCDHEC.gov, and it has a health care line for people with questions. That number is 855-472-3432, and folks can call from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Mecklenburg County has a coronavirus hotline at 980-314-9400. It’s open for general inquiries from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 24 hours a day for the medical community. On March 12, the county announced its first cases of the disease.
Gaston County residents can call their own hotline at 704-862-5303 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. After-hours calls will go the state’s call center.
Novant Health says people who don't have a health care provider but are experiencing symptoms and have questions should call its 24/7 hotline at 877-499-1697 for information on how to best get help.
What Exactly Is Coronavirus — And What About COVID-19?
There’s an outbreak of a respiratory disease that’s caused by a coronavirus that first popped up in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. There are many types of coronaviruses, but this new one can cause a disease called COVID-19 that can lead to respiratory problems.
The virus has spread to countries across the globe, including the United States, and the World Health Organization has labeled it a pandemic. That news came after the disease had infected nearly 120,000 people worldwide and killed more than 4,000 people.
According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath. People experiencing these symptoms should call a health care provider.
There are also what the CDC is calling “emergency warning signs” that require immediate medical attention. Those are difficulty breathing, persistent pain or chest pressure, sudden confusion or inability to arouse or having bluish lips or face.
Who’s Most At Risk?
According to the CDC, the majority of Americans aren’t at immediate risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19. People’s risk level could change if the spread of the virus becomes more concentrated in their particular area.
Elderly people seem more susceptible to severe illness associated with the new coronavirus. According to the CDC, people with chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are also at a heightened risk.
Folks who come into contact with people suffering from COVID-19 are at higher risk. That includes health care workers whose patients have the disease.
People traveling from areas experiencing an outbreak also have a higher chance of getting sick.
There’s not yet a vaccine.
How Do I Stay Safe?
Here’s what the CDC recommends for people who have a higher risk of contracting the virus — especially if you’re in an area experiencing an outbreak:
- Stock up on supplies like extra medicines that you regularly use in case you need to stay home, make sure you have over-the-counter medicines and basic illness supplies like tissues on hand, as well as enough groceries. Here are some tips on how to do that.
- Keep space between yourself and others.
The CDC also has this list of tips for protecting yourself and your family — and also helping avoid spreading the disease to others.
Here are a few general good practices:
- Wash your hands. A lot. Use soap and water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, you can use a hand sanitizer gel that has at least 60% alcohol. If you’re not sure if you’re washing your hands correctly, here are a few tips — and a fun video.
- Try not to touch your face — especially if you haven’t washed your hands in a bit.
- Cover your mouth when you cough and your nose when you sneeze. If you have a tissue, use that. If not, try to cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Frequently clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, computer keyboards and kitchen equipment.
- If you’re sick, a mask might help you not spread infection.
- Limit how often you touch surfaces in public places.
- Try to limit your travel — especially to places with an outbreak — and large gatherings.
What Do I Do If I Start Showing Symptoms?
Call your health care provider. It’s better to let them know your concerns before showing up as it decreases the likelihood of spreading the illness to others.
Here’s a list of tips from the CDC on how to take care of yourself at home.
Where To Turn If You Feel Unsafe At Home
CMPD Domestic Violence Unit 704-336-2379
Safe Alliance 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline and Shelter 704-332-2513
Safe Alliance - Victim Assistance (Assistance with Domestic Violence Protective Orders) 704-336-4126
Safe Alliance 24 Hour Sexual Trauma Resource Center Crisis Line 704-375-9900
Department of Social Services 980-314-3577
The Relatives 704-377-0602
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy 704-376-1600
Crisis Assistance 704-371-3000
Community Link 704-943-9490
Mecklenburg County Community Support Services 704-336-3210
Greater Charlotte Hope Line 980-771-HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Line www.crisistextline.org or text HOME to 741741
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