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Protect Yourself and Others COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and everyone is at risk of infection. Individuals with a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include:Age 65 years and older.Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.Have a high-risk medical condition including chronic lung disease, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, or other underlying medical conditions. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. Tips for Wearing Masks SafelyLearn more about the benefits of wearing face coverings.Learn more about prevention measures from:Centers for Disease Control (CDC)N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Everyone Should...Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trashClean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning product.Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.Practice social distancing by staying at home and staying at least six feet distant when you do need to go out.Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.Stop smoking. Smoking or vaping can lead to greater risk for COVID-19 complications. Visit Tobacco-Free Mecklenburg for help quitting. If you feel sickMost people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. But it's important to monitor your symptoms. Common symptoms include:More information on symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)When to Seek Emergency Medical AttentionIf someone is showing any of emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical care immediately. Trouble Breathing | Persistent Pain or Pressure in the Chest | New Confusion nability to Wake or Stay Awake | Bluish Lips or Face *This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. I received a text message or email from the North Carolina Division of Public Health. How do I verify this message? Close contacts will initially be called by a MCPH contact tracer. The contact tracer will discuss sending you a daily text from 453-94 or an e-mail from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov with a message from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The message will include a link that will be used to check in with you throughout your quarantine period. If you did not first receive a call from a contact tracer and/or would like to verity the text message or email, please call 980-314-9401. If I am identified as a close contact, what questions will I be asked during the initial phone call?MCPH staff who call individuals for contact notification interviews will introduce themselves as Public Health staff and explain the purpose of their call. They may ask the individual to confirm their name, date of birth, address, and county of residence. They will not ask for other personal information such as social security number or financial information.Public Health staff will ask specific questions and provide guidance regarding COVID-19, but will never offer to sell an individual any items.Any close contact who wishes to confirm whether a call is coming from MCPH staff can ask for the name of the staff member and call our contact tracing hotline at 980-314-9401 to verify the information. Will MCPH staff share the name of the individual who tested positive when notifying close contacts?No. MCPH staff will share the date of exposure but will not share the name of the person who tested positive directly with a close contact. What can the public do to help with contact tracing?Contact tracing is a community effort.First, everyone should work to minimize close contact with others as much as possible by practicing the 3 Ws:WEAR a cloth face covering in public settings.WAIT at least six feet apart. Avoid close contact.WASH your hands often or use hand sanitizer.Second, it is important for anyone who is sick to stay home and avoid close contact with others. If you believe you may have COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should tell anyone who you may have been in close contact with starting two days before you got sick that they may have been exposed.Third, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, work with MCPH to provide the information needed for contact tracing.Fourth, if you are identified as a close contact, follow the self-quarantine recommendations to help prevent further spread in the community.We encourage everyone to be part of the solution in keeping our community healthy and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

African American man blowing nose into tissue

Prevention and symptoms

Senior African American woman

Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Those at high-risk for severe illness include:

  • People 65 years and older.
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
    • People who have serious heart conditions.
    • People who are immunocompromised.
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher).
    • People with diabetes.
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis.
    • People with liver disease.
senior caucasian male wearing mask

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • When these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet).

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.



Everyone Should...

  1. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  2. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning product.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
  1. Practice social distancing by staying at home and staying at least six feet distant when you do need to go out.
  2. Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  3. Stop smoking. Smoking or vaping can lead to greater risk for COVID-19 complications. Visit Tobacco-Free Mecklenburg for help quitting.

If you feel sick

Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. But it's important to monitor your symptoms. Common symptoms include:

Icon of Fever
Icon of Cough
Icon of Shortness of Breath
Icon of Chills
Icon of Muscle Pain
Icon of Headache
Icon of Sore Throat
Icon of Loss of Taste and Smell
Icon of Fatigue
Icon of Nausea or Vomiting
Icon of Diarrhea
Icon of Congestion or Runny Nose
More information on symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

If someone is showing any of these emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.

Trouble Breathing|Persistent Pain or Pressure in the Chest|New Confusion
Inability to Wake or Stay Awake|Bluish Lips or Face

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.







close alertCounty services are operating at a limited capacity. Questions about COVID-19? Call Public Health Hotline: 980-314-9400