RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - New guidelines issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services extend the reach of COVID-19 testing to more people.
Health officials recommend healthcare workers test any patient suspected of having COVID-19.
"We want anyone who needs a test to get one. This is particularly important for those at high-risk for severe illness, those at greatest risk for exposure and those who are being disproportionately impacted by this virus," said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.
According to the updated guidelines, the following populations have access to testing regardless of symptoms:
- Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
- Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms
- Persons who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp)
- Persons who are at high risk of severe illness (e.g., people over 65 years of age, people of any age with underlying health conditions)
- Persons who come from historically marginalized populations
- Health care workers or first responders (e.g. EMS, law enforcement, fire department, military)
- Front-line and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, etc.) in settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain
Increased testing and contact tracing are part of Governor Roy Cooper’s plan to ease restrictions and move toward Phase two.
Health officials maintain that staying home is the best way to slow the spread of the virus.
People are advised to remember the 3 Ws when going out: Wear a face covering. Wait at least six feet apart. Wash hands often with soap and water.