The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) and Orange County Emergency Services (OCES) are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are planning accordingly. We are working with the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS), North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM), local health care providers, first responders, local schools and universities, county and municipal partners to make sure we have resources needed to respond. So far, careful containment efforts have given us valuable time to plan and prepare.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is urging communities to prepare now, said Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart. "This is a rapidly evolving situation," she said, urging residents to check reliable news sources and the county’s Coronavirus webpage for continued updates.
- COVID-19 (formerly known as coronavirus) is a novel (new) coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
- It is a respiratory disease that seems to be spreading much like flu. It can spread from person-to-person. Current symptoms for COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever1, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
- The outbreak began in China, but is spreading worldwide with the potential to cause a pandemic. The definition of a pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. At this point, we have not met this definition.
- To date, more than 90,000 cases have been identified worldwide, with more than 10,000 of these cases occurring outside of China.
- As of this past weekend, China continues to report a decrease in number of cases.
- As of March 3, 2020, there is currently 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 in North Carolina.
CDC Guidance: issued a Level 3 warning for travel to China, South Korea, Italy and Iran: which states: CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel. These destinations are experiencing sustained community transmission of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus can spread from person to person. Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. See link for additional information:
CDC Guidance: issued a Level 2 warning for travel to Japan which states: Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol. See like for additional information:
CDC Guidance: issued a Level 1 watch for travel to Hong Kong. Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol. See link for additional information:
- People who return from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread with no symptoms of coronavirus are cooperating with 14-day quarantine. Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed.
Diagnosis and Treatment
- CDC developed a real time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test for COVID-19, however the first batch of tests were reported to have issues by several laboratories. On February 26, 2020, CDC, in conjunction with FDA, determined how to move forward with new test kits. New test kits are being distributed to several laboratories.
- On Monday, March 2, 2020, the NC State Lab was able to test for COVID-19. At this time positive tests are considered presumptive; samples are sent to CDC for Confirmation
- If an individual meets criteria for COVID-19 testing, the test is free. The patient will not receive a bill for the test.
- There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.