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Health Department and NCDHHS launch COVID testing and contact tracing resources

Beaufort County Health Department and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are launching new initiatives to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing across the state and help Beaufort County families protect themselves and their neighbors. Testing and tracing are core public health measures and key components of North Carolina’s strategy to responsibly ease restrictions, while continuing to slow the spread of the virus.

People in Beaufort County can now access new online tools to determine if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and find a nearby testing place. The tool will also help individuals monitor their symptoms if they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19. In addition, NCDHHS launched a new platform to integrate contact tracing efforts across the state.

“Beaufort County Health Department is working diligently with local and state partners to ensure everything in our power is being done to safely identify, track, and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We encourage community members to monitor their health. If anyone starts to experience symptoms, or have been identified as a contact of a known positive, they should call their provider to schedule an appointment. Continue to practice personal responsibility and prevent the spread of COVID-19, said Beaufort County Health Director Jim Madson.

“These new COVID-19 testing tools and resources help North Carolinians have the support and information they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “When more people get tested, and we all work alongside the COVID-19 Community Team to do our part with contact tracing, we can protect our loved ones and slow the spread of the virus.”

New Online Tools to Increase Access to Testing

Having more than tripled the amount of testing completed just a month ago, North Carolina continues to ramp up testing. The new online tools are intended to help people know if they may need a test, how to get a test, and monitor their own symptoms if advised to do so by a contact tracer. These tools include:

  • Check My Symptoms (www.ncdhhs.gov/symptoms), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
  • Find My Testing Place (www.ncdhhs.gov/TestingPlace), a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online.
  • COVID-19 Community Team Outreach (CCTO) Tool, a password-protected online software that helps people track their own symptoms if they have been advised to do so by the COVID-19 Community Team. It is also a platform that helps streamline and integrate contact tracing work across the state.

Expanded Contact Tracing Through the COVID-19 Community Team

Through contact tracing, the COVID-19 Community Team reaches out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and connects them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones.

It is important that people answer the call when the Community Team reaches out. Individuals being contacted will get an initial text from the number 45394 or email from NC-ARIAS-NoReply@dhhs.nc.gov with follow-up phone calls from Beaufort County Health Department at 252-946-1902 or from NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223). The Community Team will never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. Any information shared during the call is a private health record and is strictly confidential.

Continued Prevention Measures

All North Carolinians should continue practicing their 3 Ws when they leave home:  Wear. Wait. Wash.

  • Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.
  • Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

“If we all do our part, we can protect our family and neighbors and get back to enjoying things like family gatherings, pastimes, and community events outside of our homes,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “By working together, we will slow the spread of this virus.”

For more information on testing and contact tracing, visit co.beaufort.nc.us/departments/human-services/public-health/2019-coronavirus-covid-19.

NCDHHS has provided Frequently Asked Questions about testing (covid19.ncdhhs.gov/Testing) and Frequently Asked Questions about contact tracing (covid19.ncdhhs.gov/ContactTracing). For the latest information on COVID-19, visit nc.gov/covid19. For more data and information about North Carolina’s testing strategy, visit the COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard: covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.