Local News

State officials release new guidelines for who can be tested for coronavirus

Posted May 15, 2020 10:55 p.m. EDT
Updated May 15, 2020 11:50 p.m. EDT

— State officials want to test more people for coronavirus and are advising a list of people who should be tested to do so.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, cited the following list in Friday's press conference:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
  • People who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings, such as a long-term care facility, a homeless shelter, a correctional facility or a migrant farm worker camp
  • People who are at high risk of severe illness, such as those age 65 or older or anyone with underlying health conditions
  • Health care workers or first responders
  • Front-line and essential workers in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as grocery store clerks and gas station attendants

"We want anyone who needs a test to get one," Cohen said.

WRAL Investigates learned the guidelines changed on April 20, but they were never disseminated publicly beyond health care facilities.

Steve Byers is the owner of Grocery Boy Jr., where you can fill up on gas and get groceries. He said he has been "very blessed we are essential." Traffic has slowed down at the pump. But in other areas business is up.

“Beer sales are through the roof," Byers said.

Byers' business is deemed essential by the state and essential employees like him were mention in the new expanded guidelines.

“We have a lot of essential workers going to work we know the virus is out there we just want to be smart about it," Cohen said. "We want to recognize that it is here, and also there could be some serious consequences.”

Byers had his thoughts on the whole process.

“Unless you have the symptoms I don’t think that it is called for," Byers said. "It's kind of we have a lot of sicknesses in this country. If you have symptoms, stay home, get tested, that kind of thing.”

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