Individuals and Families

Stay Home, Save Lives

North Carolina has moved into a Safer At Home Phase 2, as outlined in Executive Order 141. Phase 2 lifts the Stay At Home order moving into a Safer At Home recommendation, especially for people at high risk for serious illness. Teleworking is also urged when possible. Read the FAQs for more information.

View What Phase 2 Means for NC

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.
  • Use a cloth face covering 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.

The CDC has information on steps you can take to prevent illness. Additionally, review tips to manage your overall health and wellness and learn more about caring for pets and animals during this time. 

Cloth face coverings

Following CDC cloth face coverings guidance, Executive Order 138 recommends that people wear a cloth face covering when they leave their house and may be near (less than six (6) feet from) other people who are not family or household members. Covering your face is about helping others. By covering your face when you go out for essential reasons, you are being a good neighbor and community member.

It is still recommended that you stay at least 6 feet way from other people (social distancing) and frequently wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This is especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms. The very best evidence on reducing the spread is to maintain social distance and stay at home, in addition to following the prevention measures listed above.

Cloth coverings can play a part in controlling the spread if they are used properly and in combination with other everyday preventive actions like washing hands and wiping down surfaces. If used incorrectly, face coverings can expose someone to more germs. Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing or adjusting a face covering and wash hands immediately after removing or adjusting. 

The CDC does not recommend medical masks as our supplies of masks need to first go to those who work on the frontlines, including health care workers.

Read the FAQs on Cloth Face Coverings (Spanish) for more information. 

Household preparedness

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.

What to do if you feel sick or think you've been exposed?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness with symptoms similar to the flu. Symptoms are typically mild to moderate, but there have been cases of severe illness and death due to the virus. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Learn more about symptoms, testing and the steps you should take

Frequently Asked Questions

Do pregnant women have a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19?

Do pregnant women have a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19?

According to the CDC, it is not known if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. 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?

What are some helpful parent and family resources I can use during this time?

Talking to Children about the Coronavirus

Coping with Stress

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.
  • Prevent Child Abuse NC provides resources for staying connected, remaining active and engaged as a family, and managing stress and anxiety.
  • 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.  
  • The Children's Bureau Tip Sheets provide parents and caregivers with easy-to-read, concrete steps to take when dealing with a concern or question.
  • MotherToBaby also has evidence-based resources, and can be reached with questions
How can family caregivers best support others during COVID-19?

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?

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.)

I have a trip planned. Should I still go?

I have a trip planned. Should I still go?

Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in all 50 states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, such as airports, might increase your risk of exposure if there are other travelers with COVID-19.

The CDC and NCDHHS recommend that people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, such as adults over age 65, people with serious underlying health conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes) and people with weakened immune systems, avoid travel at this time and stay home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection.

Travel recommendations are frequently changing. Visit the CDC's website, the U.S. Department of State website.

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