COVID-19 Novel CoronavirusInformation For Citizens & Visitors to North Carolina
September 2 - Update COVID Booster Shots Becoming Available
Updated boosters are becoming available in North Carolina, following the FDA and the CDC’s announcement this week that people 12 and older can receive an updated booster to protect against the latest COVID-19 variants. Vaccines are beginning to arrive in the state and vaccine appointments will be more widely available starting next week.
The updated booster is referred to as a bivalent vaccine as it targets both the original coronavirus strain and the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. As of mid-August, these subvariants made up nearly 90% of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina. People aged 5-11 years can still receive the original booster, but it is expected that the updated booster will be available for younger people in the coming weeks.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, testing and treatments, or to find locations to get a COVID-19 and flu vaccine, visit MySpot.nc.gov or contact the North Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center by phone at 888-675-4567.
August 11 - NC Kicks Off Know Before You Go Campaign
NCDHHS kicks off the Know Before You Go campaign today, a statewide initiative reminding North Carolinians to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters in time for the start of the 2022-2023 school year, fall festivities, large gatherings and end-of-year celebrations and holidays.
August 9 - Some North Carolinians Eligible For Free COVID Test Shipment
Some North Carolinians can now have five free COVID-19 home tests shipped directly to them, thanks to the expansion of a partnership between NCDHHS and the Rockefeller Foundation through Project ACT. Find out if you are eligible and order the free tests by searching your zip code on the Project ACT website: accesscovidtests.org (Spanish).
July 19 As key COVID-19 metrics increase in North Carolina and the U.S. due to the BA.5 variant, Gov. Roy Cooper is reminding North Carolinians to stay prepared by being up to date on vaccines and boosters, having a supply of tests and seeking treatment if they test positive.
Consistent with trends seen in data from NCDHHS, BA.5 is now the most common variant, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled 41 of North Carolina’s counties as high COVID-19 Community levels. This variant is causing repeat infections, even in those who have recent past infections from other variants, and infections in people who are vaccinated. Getting vaccinated and boosted — including a second booster if you are eligible — is still the most effective tool to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, as well as long COVID.
July 1 - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is doubling down on at-home testing establishing Community Access Points in all counties to provide free and easy COVID-19 tests for home use.
Starting July 1, people will be able to find home tests at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests
Since the beginning of the pandemic, NCDHHS has gone the extra mile to meet people where they are, with the tools they need to protect themselves from COVID-19. Home tests are now widely available, unlike the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their ease has made them the test of choice. NCDHHS is working to emphasize at-home testing access through community distribution sites across the state as is key to our Moving Forward Together (Spanish) strategy.
“Our new at-home testing distribution program will allow people the convenience and access of at-home COVID-19 testing options,” said Dr. Susan Kansagra, NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health. “We are prepared to meet testing needs for priority populations across North Carolina, especially for historically marginalized communities.”
NCDHHS will make access to these tests free and convenient by establishing Community Access Points in all counties. Community organizations interested in becoming a Community Access Point can register online. Current information on how and where to find tests in North Carolina is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests.
As at-home testing community distribution sites open, NCDHHS will maintain some fixed site testing locations supported by the state. State-supported sites collectively have provided more than 2.4 million tests over the last two years. However, since the Omicron surge, state-supported sites now make up just 6% percent of all tests reported to NCDHHS. Many counties and providers have and will continue to operate fixed testing sites and testing will still be available at many pharmacies through the federal community-based testing program.
NCDHHS will continue to maintain sites in counties where vendor-supported testing is required to ensure equitable access or where the average distance to a testing site would increase by more than one mile if a vendor were removed. An ongoing, up-to-date locator tool for all testing sites, including Community Access Points, is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests.
In addition, NCDHHS remains prepared to support a surge in testing demand in all 100 counties if needed. The department will continue to evaluate and react to feedback and trends in COVID-19 spread and will continue to adapt as needs change.
Get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms, even if you are up to date on your vaccines, or if you have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Get tested at least five days after you last had close contact. Some people may get tested if they were referred by their school or workplace or for travel.
If you test positive, stay away from others and follow the CDC's isolation guidelines. Seek medical care immediately if you have trouble breathing or experience other warning signs. COVID-19 treatments are available and can lower your risk of hospitalization or death. For more information, visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTreatment.
Staying up to date on vaccination and boosters offers the best protection against COVID-19 for anyone 6 months of age and older. Find a vaccine location near you at MySpot.nc.gov or by calling 888-675-4567.
June 24, 2022 - Monkeypox Case Confirmed in Region One
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has recently confirmed the first positive case of monkeypox within North Carolina. This case has occurred within our region 1. Macon County Public Health is working closely with NC DHHS to make sure we remain up to date on all aspects of prevention, treatment, spread, and risk factors identified by the CDC. Currently, there is no great risk identified for the general public.
Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal. It can also be transmitted from person to person through close contact with body fluids and lesions, hugging, kissing, talking closely, as well as fabrics/bedding/surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Individuals infected with monkeypox may develop a fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, head/body aches, chills, and exhaustion.
The CDC have been tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the United States. This virus has and will continue to be monitored diligently by health officials.
Please follow the link to the CDC website for current and accurate data surrounding this virus: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html.