COVID-19 (formerly known as Coronavirus)

Updated February 26, 2020
PRESS RELEASE from NCDHHS: Governor’s Task Force Encourages North Carolinians to Increase Preparedness Measures for COVID-19

PRESS RELEASE from OCHD about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. 

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (formerly known as Coronavirus) in North Carolina at the time of this press release.

Symptoms of the virus include fever and lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). The illness can be more serious for individuals with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems. 

On January 17, 2020, the CDC began implementing public health entry screening at San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX) airports.

If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

Seek medical care right away. Before you go to visit your medical provider, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Avoid non-essential travel while sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

All Orange County medical personnel and first responders have been informed about COVID-19 and have put in place a protocol to ensure the public’s safety, should Orange County encounter a case of this emerging illness.


PDFs of Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus in Multiple Languages:

More Detailed Fact Sheet about COVID-19 (Updated February 24, 2020):

Social Media Graphics about Coronavirus in Multiple Languages:





Traveler Alerts About Coronavirus:

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Resources to Learn More about 2019 Novel Coronavirus:

North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services (NCDHHS):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

•    For more information about Coronaviruses:

•    For travel health information:

World Health Organization (WHO):

For general questions (not urgent) about 2019 Novel Coronavirus, contact NCDHHS at:
1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public.

If you are an individual or a medical practice with questions about 2019 Novel Coronavirus, call the Orange County Health Department at  919-245-2400 and ask to get in touch with someone from Communicable Disease Team (CD). Afterhours, call 911 and ask for the Communicable Disease Staff member on-call.

Contact the Orange County Health Department’s Public Information Officer at:

National Institute of Health (NIH) Coronavirus Infection Information in Multiple Languages

Should I wear a mask to protect myself from 2019 Novel Coronavirus? 

A message from the Orange County Health Department’s Health Director, Quintana Stewart:

There are no cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, so a mask would not help to protect someone from a threat that does not currently exist. This is, however, flu and cold season.

Prevention & Treatment:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

Orange County Government cares about diversity, equity and inclusion. As a community, we need to be mindful of xenophobia (dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries). As this novel coronavirus spreads, so does xenophobia. We want to avoid any speech or action that would make minorities in our community feel exposed and vulnerable. Pathogens and viruses do not discriminate, however humans do. The Orange County Health Department will not contribute to racial profiling and marginalization, portraying the carrier of this illness as “foreign and alien.” We will stick to the science and treat all community members with respect.

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