RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — State health officials are urging North Carolinians not to panic, but to prepare for the novel coronavirus.
It isn’t here yet, but health officials say the virus could make it’s way to North Carolina any time.
“It’s a hard thing for us to know when which is why we’ve been preparing for the past month and a half. We’re preparing today. We’ll prepare tomorrow,” explained Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilsen, the state’s health director.
Tilsen, along with Emergency Management director, Mike Sprayberry, and chairs of the Governor’s coronavirus Task Force, wants people to plan ahead in case they’re sick or need to care for a sick family member.
They’re also asking businesses to look at HR policies, prepare for absences, and make sure employees are discouraged from coming to work sick.
They’re also working with hospitals to ensure they have supplies and infection protocols in place.
“This is a respiratory virus just like with the flu but I think the case with this novel Coronavirus is that because there is no natural immunity we may have more people infected than we might have with the flu,” noted Tilsen.
Tilsen says the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands, avoid touching your face and mouth, and stay away from people who are sick.
Health officials say wearing a face mask will not help protect healthy people from the virus.
“Face masks are meant to be used if somebody is sick, to use a face mask in order to prevent spread. They are not helpful to prevent infection,” said Tilsen, adding “Having a healthy person wearing a face mask is not going to help prevent them from getting infected, and it will diminish the supply for people who are sick.”
State officials say if people do come down with the virus, most will be quarantined in their homes unless they are so sick they need to go to a hospital.
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