Brunswick County Health Services and NCDHHS Launch Testing and Contact Tracing Resources to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Brunswick County

06.05.2020

Brunswick County Health Services and NCDHHS Launch Testing and Contact Tracing Resources to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Brunswick County

MEDIA RELEASE

BOLIVIA, N.C. – Brunswick County Health Services and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) are launching new initiatives to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing across the state and help Brunswick 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 Brunswick 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. Brunswick County Health Services has been training on the software and is using it in its ongoing contact tracing work.

“Our public health nurses are already using these tools to help contacts understand their symptoms and how to find testing near them,” Health Services Director Cris Harrelson said. “The more North Carolinians we can help to identify potential symptoms and get access to testing and care through these tools, the better we can manage the COVID-19 pandemic in our communities going forward.”

Health Services nurses are currently managing all contact tracing efforts for the county, but will begin to work with additional contact tracers offered through the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative as more cases are identified through the increasing testing efforts seen across the county and state.

“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 (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 (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 Brunswick County Health Services at 910.253.2250 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, go to https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/health/coronavirus/testing/

Brunswick County updates its COVID-19 case counts daily (including weekends) for residents and the media to view at https://www.brunswickcountync.gov/alert-ticker/information-on-coronavirus/

NCDHHS has provided the 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: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

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For media inquiries, contact the Public Information Officer at 910.253.2995 or email meagan.kascsak@brunswickcountync.gov

County Contact Information & Virtual Services During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Brunswick County is urging individuals to visit our website and to call or email county departments for assistance first before visiting county offices. The County now requires appointments for in-person visits. Not sure who to contact? Call our main line and we can help direct your calls.

  • Main County Contact Information: 910.253.2000 / 800.442.7033