April 7, 2020

COVID-19: Symptoms and Testing Resources

COVID-19: Symptoms and Testing Resources

If you feel you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to prevent further spread.

Most people who get COVID-19 will recover without needing medical care. The CDC recommends that you stay home if you have mild symptoms, such as fever and cough without shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Learn more in this NCDHHS fact sheet in English and Spanish.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, seek medical advice. If possible, call ahead before visiting a healthcare facility.

Learn More About Symptoms

NCDHHS is working closely with local health departments, the State Laboratory for Public Health and health care providers to provide ongoing guidance for when testing is appropriate.

If you have been tested for COVID-19, please talk to the provider or laboratory that performed the testing about when and how you will receive your test results. Your test results will not be available from NC 211.

The NC State Laboratory of Public Health and some commercial labs are conducting tests. CDC provides recommended criteria to guide decisions on testing, but health care providers are able to order COVID-19 testing for individuals as they see fit.

For people with mild symptoms who don’t need medical care, getting a test will not change what you or your doctor do. Testing is most important for people who are seriously ill, in the hospital, people in high-risk settings like nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and healthcare workers and other first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19. Only those who meet the following criteria should ask their doctor or local health department about being tested for COVID-19:

  1. Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
  2. Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test

Individuals without health insurance, who are not feeling well, should:

  • Call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.
  • If you are not able to be seen at an FQHC, call your local health department. Free and charitable clinics may also be able to provide assistance. A list of these resources, including contact information, is provided by the Office of Rural Health.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or call ahead then go to the emergency room.

TreatmentThere is no specific treatment for COVID-19. Most people with illnesses caused by coronaviruses like COVID-19 will recover on their own. However, there are some things you can do to relieve your symptoms, including:

  • Taking pain and fever medications (caution: do not give aspirin to children).
  • Using a humidifier or taking a hot shower to ease a sore throat and cough.
  • Drinking plenty of liquids and stay home and rest.

Follow instructions from your local health department and health care provider for appropriate care.

Medications and treatments for COVID-19 are being investigated, including through clinical trials in North Carolina and across the nation. A clinical trial is a type of research study used to test if a drug or medical device is both safe and effective for human use. Registered trials for drugs being studied for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov. To find clinical trials happening specifically in NC, you may specify your search through ClinicalTrials.gov by location. Additionally, many academic medical centers update clinical trials occurring at their institutions on their respective websites.