What to Do if You Feel Sick
CDC and NC Dept. Of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) have released new guidance for patients, health care providers and outpatient facilities. (These 3 documents are attached to today's email.) The CDC and NCDHHS now recommend the following for people experiencing symptoms or become sick.
People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk for severe viral illness. However, to date, data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk for severe illness.
Call your doctor or 911 right away if you have:
- Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms – such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. You can call your doctor to see if you need medical care. If you do not have a doctor, you can seek medical attention by using the following:
- Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19. People at higher risk should call their doctor if they develop symptoms of fever or cough. You are at higher risk if you:
- Are 65 years and older
- Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- Have a high-risk condition that includes:
- Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- Heart disease with complications
- Compromised immune system
- Severe obesity
- Body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher
- Other underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as diabetes, renal failure or liver disease
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Blue lips
- The CDC and NCDHHS have shifted their focus away from mass testing. As such, current testing guidelines are as follows:
- Most people do not need a test. When you leave your home to get tested, you could expose yourself to COVID-19 if you do not already have it. If you do have COVID-19, you can give it to someone else, including people who are high risk.
- Your doctor can help you decide if you need a test. There is no treatment for COVID-19. For people with mild symptoms who don't need medical care, getting a test will not change what you or your doctor do.
- Testing is most important for people who are seriously ill, in the hospital, people in high- risk settings like nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and healthcare workers and other first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19.
- There have been 118 tests completed in Beaufort County to date, with 92 negatives, 7 positives and 19 pending. (These are cumulative numbers and includes test performed at the Health Department and reporting private medical facilities throughout our county.) *Two of our positive cases were tested in other counties. *
- Effective Monday (3/30), Beaufort County Health Department will no longer provide community testing due to limited supplies. Most medical providers in the county can conduct the COVID-19 test.
- Not everyone should be tested. If a person is sick, they should assume they may have COVID-19 or another communicable disease and stay home until they are fever free for 3 days and have been in self-isolation for at least seven days. If their symptoms worsen, then they should contact their provider to see if additional medical attention is needed.
- There is no treatment for COVID-19. A positive test will not impact the medical management for most people with COVID-19. Testing should be used when conditions are more severe, and the diagnosis needs to be ruled out. Commercial lab testing is still available for those providers needing this information.
- Alternative surveillance tools will be used to track the spread in our county. Tracking only lab-confirmed cases is not a reliable or accurate way to understand the pandemic; therefore, the health department will use influenza surveillance tools designed to track widespread respiratory illness.
- People infected with COVID-19 coming out to be tested may spread illness to others in the community, including those at higher risk of complications, and health care workers. Also, people who are not infected with COVID-19 can become so when seeking testing, especially at health care sites. This is why we advise sick people to stay home when sick and for healthy people to only go out for necessary trips (ex. Food, medications, scheduled doctor’s appointments).
There is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19. Treatments are specific to the symptoms experienced by the individual and may range depending on severity. For example, over the counter medicines may be an effective treatment for fever, cough, body aches etc. in some individuals. Others may require the services and treatments provided by a trained medical professional.
The CDC and NCDHHS now recommend the following guidance for treatment.
- Isolate Yourself
- If you are sick with COVID-19 or believe you might have it, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible.
- When can I go back to my normal activities?
- You can stop isolating yourself when you answer YES to ALL three questions:
- Has it been at least 7 days since you first had symptoms?
- Have you been without fever for three days (72 hours) without any medicine for fever?
- Are your other symptoms improved?
- Call your doctor if your symptoms are getting worse or you have any concerns about your health.
- What if I'm not sure if I have COVID-19?
- If you have fever and cough and other symptoms of respiratory illness, even if it is not from COVID-19, you should isolate yourself as if you have COVID-19. This will reduce the risk of making the people around you sick.
- What should my family members do?
- Anyone in your household or others who have been in close contact with you should stay home for 14 days as much as possible and monitor themselves for symptoms. Close contact means within six feet for at least 10 minutes. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps to prevent spreading it. Family members who are healthcare workers, first responders, or others who are needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic should review CDC guidance and check with their employers about when to return to work.
North Carolina’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to monitor the supply chains of grocery and other retail stores. As of Monday (3/16) morning, representatives from distributors for Wal-Mart, Foodlion, etc reported that commodity sales over the previous 3 days have exceeded what is normally sold in a month. As such, they are encouraging everyone to return to their normal purchasing habits and refrain from bulk buying and/or hoarding. Distributors have reported having many of the supplies need to replenish stores and continue to do so. North Carolina has assisted that effort by lifting many of the travel and weight restrictions of transport services.
Some Eastern NC communities have elected to issue “Shelter in Place” orders. These orders have not prevented residents from obtaining basics needs such as groceries, medications, etc. No such orders have been issued for Beaufort County or any of our municipalities.