Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) was deemed a pandemic on March 11 by the World Health Organization.

Click here for an updated count of confirmed cases in North Carolina

Currently there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County.

What are coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illness in animals and humans. Some coronaviruses commonly circulate in the United States and usually cause upper respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose, although some can cause more serious illness. The 2019 novel (new) coronavirus causes the illness coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease that was identified in Wuhan, China, and is now being spread throughout the world. People are encouraged to take common sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including COVID-19.  

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.

Avoid close contact with people who are ill.

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.

How does COVID-19 spread?

Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands. Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses. 

Exposure and symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, you may need to seek medical attention. Call the Orange County Health Department at 300 W. Tryon St, Hillsborough, NC 27278; (919)245-2400 for further guidance. Before going to a health care provider, clinic, hospital or emergency room, call ahead to describe your symptoms and how you may have been exposed to the virus. In the event of an emergency call 9-1-1. 

Businesses and Employers

Businesses and employers should reinforce good hand hygiene tips and other common-sense precautions with employees and patrons.

Businesses should also:

Review policies and procedures for remote or teleworking where possible.

Cross-train employees for key functions so that daily schedules can continue relatively uninterrupted by potential employee absences.

Review absenteeism policies to make sure employees are not being encouraged to come to work if they are sick.

Establish a relationship with your local health department and communicate with them if you have any questions or concerns about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Review recommendations for cleaning practices.

Work to make sure fear and anxiety don’t lead to social stigma toward any employees.

Make sure you are getting reliable information from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NCDHHS.

More information is available from the CDC on how businesses can plan and respond.

Since late January, NCDHHS and NC Emergency Management have been operating a team to coordinate efforts around the state’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. In early February, Governor Roy Cooper formalized this effort with the creation of the COVID-19 Task Force to further prepare for COVID-19 infections in North Carolina.

DHHS is working with federal and local health officials, health care providers and emergency management officials to protect the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians. Activities include:


Proactively launched cross-agency preparation work in January, putting together an aggressive containment strategy of rapid identification of suspected cases, testing and contact tracing.

Began testing cases at the NC State Laboratory of Public Health, which allows for faster results and a faster response.

Monitoring travelers returning from China through local health departments.

North Carolina Preparation and Ongoing Response

Formalized preparation and response work with Governor Cooper creating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force.

Developing detailed response plans for a range of scenarios.

Engaged in regular communication with federal, state and local partners.

Preparing health care providers and facilities to streamline and standardize response activities including regular calls and mobilizing resources.

Sharing and updating guidelines on how to proactively prepare and respond, including guidelines for health care providers, child care, employers, schools, colleges and universities and others.

Public Information

Activated a Joint Information Center to provide timely information.

Maintaining an up-to-date website with information about COVID-19 disease, risk and guidance.

Staffing a COVID-19 phone line to answer urgent questions from the public. 

Maintaining a reliable up-to-date website with information about COVID-19 disease, risk and guidance.

Staffing the COVID-19 phone line, 866-462-3821, to answer urgent questions from the public.

Providing resources to providers and healthcare facilities to streamline and standardize response activities.

Follow the guidance of public health and emergency management officials as the situation continues to evolve.

Listen to a message from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on the coronavirus here.

If you are an individual or a medical practice with questions about COVID-19, please call 919-245-2400. It is available during business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) the message will direct you to press 5 to either be connected to the Communicable Disease team or to leave a message for staff. We are actively monitoring this message box and will get back to you quickly. We have 10 staff members who have been trained and are actively checking the voicemail. People can expect a response within an hour or so. We hope to make this a live line next week. We wanted to get a week of training under our belts so we would be ready for that.

Afterhours, call 911 and ask for the Communicable Disease Staff member on-call. For general questions (not urgent) about Coronavirus, contact NCDHHS at:

Call 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus.


North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services (NCDHHS):

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

• For more information about Coronaviruses:

• For travel health information:

World Health Organization (WHO):

Map of Current Outbreak Created and Maintained by Johns Hopkins:

National Institute of Health:

National Institute of Health (NIH) Coronavirus Infection Information in Multiple Languages

Why did the disease caused by nCoV2019 (2019 novel coronavirus), get a new name?

Why some COVID-19 Cases Are Worse Than Others:

Facebook: Orange County Health Department

Twitter: Orange Health NC