EXPERT ADVICE: Three steps we all can take to slow COVID-19's spread
Sunday March 22, 2020 -- As six former State Health Directors for North Carolina, we are speaking with one voice to urge each North Carolinian to take three critical steps to slow the spread of COVID-19: Do your best to limit contact with others; Stay informed from reliable sources and; Don't seek testing for COVID-19 if you have a mild illness.Posted — Updated
With the cases of COVID-19 increasing across our state, and the images we are seeing from other countries, concerns about the potential impacts to North Carolina are high. At the same time, with so much information circulating, people can feel overwhelmed without a clear sense of how to best fight this pandemic. We have been fortunate in our state to have the leadership of Gov. Roy Cooper, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, and our State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson who have acted decisively to help protect our citizens during these challenging times.
As six former State Health Directors for North Carolina, we are speaking with one voice to urge each North Carolinian to take three critical steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. We acknowledge that for many, these recommendations may be more difficult to follow. Barriers like lack of health insurance and paid sick leave and limited telework options can create additional hardships for many families.
If you’re not sick enough to need medical care, a positive COVID-19 test will not change what you or your doctor do. Anyone who has fever and signs of respiratory illness including cough should stay home until at least 7 days after the first day of illness AND until they have been without fever for three days and other symptoms are improving. People who have been in close contact with an ill person are urged to stay home as much as possible and monitor themselves for signs of illness. During this phase of the outbreak, testing is most important for severely ill patients, health care workers, and persons in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations.
Testing also places significant strain on supplies like masks and gowns that we will need to meet the expected rise in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. We have a deep gratitude to the health care workers, first responders, and public health workforce who are working around the clock to keep others well. We need to do our part by not adding to the overwhelming caseloads they are beginning to face by taking these three critical steps: stay home, stay informed, and seek medical care and testing only if you have significant symptoms.
The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we are all interconnected and that we must commit to actions that keep our communities healthy. Together we will make it through these challenging times and emerge stronger and more prepared.