NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County has been monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) over the last two months with state and local partners, and is taking proactive steps to be prepared for potential impacts in our community.
“There are no cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County at this time, and risk of the virus in our community is low,” said New Hanover County Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “We exercise and regularly plan for emerging illnesses and infectious diseases, so we have a framework in place to respond if needed. We are modifying those plans specific to this virus now in case we need it in the future.”
New Hanover County Public Health and Emergency Management are working with state and local partners, including the NC Division of Public Health, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Southeastern Healthcare Preparedness Region, Wilmington International Airport, Port of Wilmington and others to ensure plans are in place in the event the COVID-19 impacts the community.
New Hanover County has also developed a webpage, Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus, to share up-to-date information and resources so residents can be aware of local efforts and how to prepare if action is needed locally.
“We understand the fear an emerging illness like the novel coronavirus can cause, so even though risk to our area is low, we want people to know what we are working on and where to go for information,” said New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Steven Still. “Our biggest advice to residents is to practice health safety the same way you do for flu and other illnesses and begin to think through your own preparedness plans in case they are needed.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and shortness of breath; and about 80 percent of cases are mild, with some people not realizing they are ill. Those at greatest risk of complications, if infected with coronavirus, are the elderly and those with immune deficiencies and chronic health issues.
The public should be vigilant, as with any infectious disease: wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when coughing, and stay home and away from others when you are sick.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Travelers from mainland China to the United States are being diverted through 11 US airports and health screenings are conducted. If a traveler is symptomatic, isolation and testing protocols are in place at those airports. If not symptomatic, the traveler’s information is shared with state and local officials of their final destination. This process, as well as travel restrictions can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For general questions about COVID-19, call the NC Division of Public Health at 1-866-468-3821. If you have traveled to an area with active COVID-19 in the last 14 days and are experiencing symptoms, contact your healthcare provider or New Hanover County Public Health at 910-798-6500. If you use an urgent care or walk-in clinic, call ahead so they can plan safety precautions during your visit.