Individuals and Families Following the May 13 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully vaccinated individuals can safely do most activities without wearing a mask or the need to social distance from others, the state will remove its indoor mask mandate for most settings. FAQs for the Easing of Restrictions Summary of current restrictions Face Coverings and Masks Slowing the spread Vaccinations Tested, safe and effective, COVID-19 vaccines will help us gain control of our lives and get back to the people and places we love. Learn more about vaccines and find your local vaccination center. Testing and tracing Testing and contact tracing are key components of North Carolina’s strategy to responsibly ease restrictions, while continuing to slow the spread of the virus. Know Your Ws: Wear, Wait and Wash Even with vaccinations, it's important to keep practicing your 3 Ws: Wear, Wait, Wash. Wear a cloth covering over your nose and mouth. Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Staying healthy There are some common sense measures everyone can take to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people. Wear a cloth covering over your mouth and nose when you leave your house, especially when you may not be able to keep 6 feet between yourself and other people. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. Disinfectants should be used by following label instructions. Don’t mix chemicals, wear protective gear, use in a well-ventilated area, and store chemicals out of reach of kids. Increases in chemical exposures from disinfectants have been reported. Learn more. Additionally, the CDC reported serious adverse health issues associated with methanol-contaminated hand sanitizers. Learn more about these recalls. Frequently Asked Questions Do pregnant women have a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19? According to the CDC, pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 and are at higher risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth. Pregnant women are at higher risk from influenza and other respiratory viruses, so they are encouraged to protect themselves from illnesses. While children are generally at lower risk for severe infection, some studies indicate a higher risk among infants. What are some helpful parent and family resources I can use during this time? Talking to Children about the Coronavirus "Our Smallest Warriors, Our Strongest Medicine: Overcoming COVID-19" is a book written for Indigenous (American Indian, Alaska Native, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) children affected by COVID-19. The Child Mind Institute provides resources and tips for parenting, including how to talk to kids about COVID-19. Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus provides information in a child-friendly comic format. Answering Your Child’s Questions During the Coronavirus from Zero to Three provides age-appropriate responses to common questions from toddlers. Administration for Community Living (ACL)'s COVID-19/Emergency Preparedness Resource Guide for Kinship Families and Grandfamilies details resources available for kinship caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren. The STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center has resources to help children understand COVID-19 and teach children to wash their hands. Zero to Three provides tips for families that include age-appropriate responses to common questions, a guide to self-care, and activities for young children experiencing social distancing. Supporting Individuals with Autism Through Uncertain Times is a free UNC toolkit available in multiple languages that includes resources for families and caregivers supporting individuals, including young children, with autism spectrum disorder. Coping with Stress Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19 from the National Association of School Psychologists provides tips on helping families adjust to a “new normal.” The Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network includes age-appropriate tips for helping children cope with stress and uncertainty. Tips for Parents during Times of Trauma, available from Parents As Teachers, outlines ways caregivers can maintain routines and respond to children’s needs. Parents and caregivers can also search for a Parents As Teachers program in their area. Parenting & Caregiving Courses, Training, & Online Communities American Academy of Pediatrics has information on children and coronavirus and helpful parenting tips. Triple P Online is a free parenting course that provides flexible, practical ways to develop skills, strategies and confidence to handle any parenting situation. The course now includes a Parenting During COVID-19 module and tip sheets. Resources are available in English and Spanish. The Incredible Years website provides resources on topics such as providing calm and supportive parenting and tips for grandparents reaching out to children remotely. Parents and caregivers can search for Circle of Parent groups that offer a forum for caregivers to exchange ideas, support and information. MotherToBaby also has evidence-based resources, and can be reached with questions. How can family caregivers best support others during COVID-19? Family caregivers face unique challenges during COVID-19 as they balance the needs of their loved one — whether that is an older adult, a grandchild they are raising, or an adult with a disability. It is important providers consider patient rights under the American with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act when considering caregiver visitation. The resources below can help caregivers navigate resources and empower themselves during this complicated time: The Office of Civil Rights has issued a bulletin regarding civil rights of individuals during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The CDC has issued guidance regarding allowing visitors who are essential for the patient’s physical or emotional well-being and care. For individuals with a cognitive impairment, their caregiver is an extension of the individual with the impairment, and should be treated as such. Unless it negatively impacts a facility’s ability to ensure the safety of other patients or visitors, anyone with a cognitive impairment should be allowed to have their caregiver with them either in the ambulance or in the hospital. The 16 regional area agencies on aging have a Family Caregiver Resource Specialist available to assist caregivers with resources and services. Minimizing caregiver stress and burnout while they are home for long periods of time is vital. The CDC has some helpful tips for reducing stress. Caregivers of individuals with dementia face their own set of challenges. The Alzheimer’s Association has developed tips for dementia care. The CDC has guidance on caring for someone at home with COVID-19. What are some helpful resources for people with developmental disabilities? The national Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) has developed an easy-to-read COVID-19 booklet written by and for people with developmental disabilities. The information is current as of March 13, 2020 and is available in English and Spanish. (Some terminology and links are not specific to North Carolina.) How can I best prepare my household and prevent the spread in my home? The CDC has a checklist of actions to prepare your household for COVID-19, and guidance is available for preventing the spread of coronavirus in homes and residential communities. People should make sure they have daily necessities and medications to last about two weeks, in case they need to isolate. Massive stock piling of supplies is not necessary. Leave some for others, especially those who can’t afford to buy a lot of groceries all at once. North Carolinians who need help with needs like food assistance, support for families and other basic needs should call 2-1-1 for assistance. If you must run essential errands, follow this guidance on how to do so in a healthy and safe manner. For cleaning your home, the CDC provides steps you should take and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also released a list of cleaning products to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Follow label instructions while cleaning. Do I need a negative COVID-19 test before I can return to work? Employers should not require documentation of a negative test before allowing an employee to return to work. You can end self-isolation and return to normal activities when you can answer YES to ALL of the following questions: Has it been at least 10 days since your symptoms started? Has it been 24 hours since you last had fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications? Have your symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, improved? Read more about next steps to take when you are waiting for a test result, receive a positive test or a negative test.