Carteret County Health Department prepares for coronavirus

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This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Credit: NIAID-RML

MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WNCT) The Carteret County Health Department continues to prepare for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak in Carteret County.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus first identified in Wuhan, China.

Common symptoms are similar to the flu, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, including touching and shaking hands; and, touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands.

At this time, there is not a specific treatment for the coronavirus.

“As of today, there have not been any confirmed coronavirus cases in North Carolina. The Health Department is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and is continuing to work together with local, state, and federal partners such as Carteret County Public School System, Carteret Healthcare, Carteret Community College, Carteret County medical providers, U.S. Coast Guard, and the NC Division of Public Health to share information and refine protocols should we have a coronavirus case in Carteret County,” states Stephanie Cannon, Health Director.

While there are still a lot of unknowns about the coronavirus, there are steps the public can take to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including the coronavirus.

These include washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue; avoiding close contact with persons who are ill; and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cannon said, “Carteret County citizens are encouraged to use reputable sources of information to learn more about the coronavirus. Reputable sources of information include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NC Division of Public Health websites and the NC Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus call line (1-866-462-3821). The Health Department (252-728-8550 or https://www.facebook.com/CarteretCountyHealthDepartment/) also remains an available and reputable source of information.”

For more information on the coronavirus visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html) and the North Carolina Division of Public Health (https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/COVID19.html) websites.

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