NCDHHS launches testing, contact tracing resources to help slow spread of COVID-19 in NC

North Carolina

FILE – This file image provided by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange) the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. A new type of coronavirus test offers a cheaper, quicker way to screen for infections, moving the U.S. toward the kind of mass screening that experts say is essential to returning millions of Americans to school and work. But the first so-called antigen test _ announced Saturday, may 9, 2020 by the Food and Drug Administration _ is not quite the kind sought by top government health officials. It is less accurate than the current gold standard for testing and can only be run on specialized equipment. (NIAID-RML via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launches new initiatives to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing across the state and help North Carolinians protect their families and neighbors.

Testing and tracing are core public health measures and key components of North Carolina’s strategy to responsibly ease restrictions while continuing to slow the spread of the virus.

North Carolinians can now access new online tools to determine if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and find a nearby testing place.

The tool will also help individuals monitor their symptoms if they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19.

In addition, NCDHHS launched a new platform to integrate contact tracing efforts across the state under the COVID-19 Community Team.

More than 900 local health department staff and other Community Team members have been trained on the software and many have begun using it in their ongoing contact tracing work.

North Carolina contact tracing is being conducted by experienced and trained local health department staff and other COVID-19 Community Team members.

Last week, the Community Team met its initial goal to hire and train 250 additional contact tracers who collectively are reflective of the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of North Carolina.

New Online Tools to Increase Access to Testing: The new online tools are intended to help people know if they may need a test, how to get a test and how to monitor their own symptoms if advised to do so by a contact tracer. These tools include:   

  • Check My Symptoms (www.ncdhhs.gov/symptoms), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
  • Find My Testing Place (www.ncdhhs.gov/TestingPlace), a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online.  
  • COVID-19 Community Team Outreach (CCTO) Tool, a password-protected online software that helps people track their own symptoms if they have been advised to do so by the COVID-19 Community Team. The tool is also a platform that helps streamline and integrate contact tracing work across the state.

Expanded Contact Tracing through the COVID-19 Community Team: Through contact tracing, local health department staff and other COVID-19 Community Team members reach out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and connect them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones.

It is important that people answer the call when the Community Team reaches out.

Individuals being contacted will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov with follow-up phone calls from their local health department or NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223).

The Community Team will never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. Any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential. 

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