Alert

Published on March 26, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

Where do I find information about confirmed cases?

Please refer to trusted public health officials for information on the virus, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) or UNC Health. We recommend caution when it comes to reading about the virus in social and popular media, and instead encourage you to look toward these trusted public sources.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illnesses, similar to the flu. Learn more information about symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

What do I do if I have all or some COVID-19 symptoms?

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), click the purple Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of unchealthcare.org
This will bring up our coronavirus symptom checker that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up. You can also call your primary care provider.
Do not go to your doctor’s office or an urgent care without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.

What steps can I take right now to minimize risk of transmission?

There are simple things you can do every day to minimize the risk of transmission. These include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—ordinary soap is the best defense against any virus and needs this amount of time to be effective
  • Using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Avoiding close contact with others, including handshakes
  • Covering your cough and sneeze in the crease of your elbow
  • Cleaning and disinfecting common objects and surfaces
  • Staying home and practicing social distancing

How do I know if I am at high risk?

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, it is especially important to stay home. People who are at higher risk include those who:

  • work in a healthcare setting
  • are younger than age 2
  • are 65 years or older
  • are pregnant or postpartum within 2 weeks of delivery
  • are more than 100 pounds over their ideal body weight

Additionally, those at higher risk have been diagnosed with any of these following conditions:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • pulmonary disease, including asthma
  • cardiovascular disease
  • hypertensive disease
  • renal disease
  • hepatic disease
  • hematologic disease, including sickle cell disease
  • neurological conditions that limit movement
  • moderate to severe developmental delay
  • immunosuppression caused by disease or medications

What does quarantine mean?

Quarantine means a period in which people that have been exposed to an infectious or contagious disease must remain in isolation at home. If someone were asked to remain quarantined, they should not be leaving their home or coming into contact with other people, beyond those who reside in their home. The CDC is currently recommending 14 days for COVID-19.

How long can we expect these measures to be in place?

This public health concern is unprecedented, and the health and wellbeing of our community is our most important consideration. At this time, we are uncertain how long these measures will be necessary. Continue to refer to trusted public health officials for updated information on the virus. We are all in this together.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 right now?

Wayne UNC Health Care is updating our patient screening process on an ongoing basis, based on guidance from the CDC.

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), click the purple Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of unchealthcare.org
This will bring up our coronavirus symptom checker that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up. You can also call your primary care provider.
Do not go to your doctor’s office or an urgent care without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.

How long does it take to get test results?

Currently, laboratories are estimating, at minimum, 7-8 days from pickup of specimen to release of the test results. As you wait for your results, please continue to self-monitor and quarantine. If you are concerned about symptoms that are getting worse, please contact your doctor’s office.

I have symptoms but wasn’t tested or treated when I called and/or visited the doctor. I am concerned that I have COVID-19 and you aren’t testing or treating me.

Due to very limited resources, such as swabs and chemicals, testing is only available for those who meet specific criteria based on guidelines from the CDC. Please contact your primary care physician if your symptoms do not ease. If your symptoms become severe, call 911.

Why do we not have enough tests? Why am I not being tested?

Due to very limited resources, such as swabs and chemicals, testing is only available for those who meet specific criteria based on guidelines from the CDC.

Do you admit patients while waiting for test results?

We are using guidelines from the CDC to determine if tested patients should be admitted while he/she awaits test results. Currently, we ask individuals with mild symptoms to return home while waiting so as to minimize exposure to other patients, families, and staff. Ultimately, the physician will consider each unique case and make the best decision for the patient.

Will Wayne UNC Health Care continue to perform elective surgeries?

As of March 17, 2020, elective surgeries have been postponed. By postponing elective surgeries, we are limiting the number of people moving in and out of the hospital and so minimizing exposure to other patients, families, and staff. This also ensures that we are conserving medical supplies in case of increased need related to COVID-19.

Will Wayne UNC provide telehealth services to patients?

UNC Urgent Care 24/7 continues to be available for sick patients needing to speak to a doctor about a range of non-life-threatening illnesses, such as a rash, sore throat, pink eye or stomach bug. You can speak with a physician via video chat or on the phone for $49 or less depending on your insurance.

Will Wayne UNC triage patients before entering the hospital?

Yes. Tents have been set up outside the Emergency Department; our team will greet and isolate you upon arrival to minimize possible exposure to other patients and team members. Patients who are exhibiting respiratory symptoms are asked to click the purple Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of unchealthcare.org to use our coronavirus symptom checker. This determine if medical follow-up is needed.

Do not go to your doctor’s office the emergency department without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.


The majority of people with mild symptoms may not need to come to the hospital at all. In many cases, the most appropriate course is to treat your mild symptoms at home as this will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread to others in our community.

Will Wayne UNC take the temperature of all teammates and visitors?

Yes, we have begun temperature screenings of teammates and visitors as they enter the hospital. In addition, we are limiting visitors. Please visit our website for the most current visitor info.

What steps are being taken to clean each clinic / hospital setting?

The Environmental Services (EVS) personnel will continue to follow the CDC’s Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Guidance to clean individual rooms and the entire Wayne UNC facility.

If I have visited Wayne UNC recently, do I need to self-quarantine?

Not at this time. If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), please call your primary care physician or use our symptom checker on unchealthcare.org.

Can someone answer my general questions?

North Carolina has set up a helpline at 866-462-3821, available 24/7 and staffed by nurses and pharmacists, to answer questions about COVID-19, including symptoms. To submit questions online, go to NC Poison Control and select “Chat.” More information is also available from the NCDHHS.

What if I encounter someone who has symptoms similar to COVID-19?

If you are comfortable speaking with that person who has symptoms, direct them to trusted sources of information, like the CDC or UNC Health. In addition, North Carolina has set up a helpline at 866-462-3821, available 24/7 and staffed by nurses and pharmacists, to answer questions about COVID-19, including symptoms assessment, how to reduce the risk of transmission, and what to do if COVID-19 is suspected. To submit questions online, go to NC Poison Control and select “Chat.”

Why are all nurses and staff members not wearing a mask?

All UNC Health facilities are following the CDC and NC DHHS official guidelines for health care workers and their use of personal protective equipment, including masks.

Should everyone wear a mask?

The CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses. Facemasks should be used by people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and other respiratory illness like flu to protect others from getting infected. Healthcare providers and others taking care of people with COVID-19 should wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

What are the current visitor restrictions?

In a continued effort to help protect our patients and teammates from the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Wayne UNC Health Care updated the hospital visitation policy to restrict visitors effective Saturday, March 21st.

Hospital access for visitation is limited to:

  • Patients under the age of 18 are allowed two guardians for duration of stay.
  • Pregnant women under observation or in labor are allowed one support person for duration of stay.
  • Patients at the end of life.

Visitors with symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness, including cough or shortness of breath, will not be allowed to enter. Wayne UNC is screening all teammates and visitors for signs and symptoms of illness.

The patient’s care team and the attending physician will work with families who have special circumstances, such as a critically ill or injured family member, on a case-by-case basis.

These unprecedented times mean that we must make difficult decisions in order to ensure we keep our patients, their families, our coworkers and medical personnel safe. We have and will continue to make these decisions based on the many factors that affect the wellbeing of our community. Please visit our website for the most current visitor info and consider virtual visits when wanting to see your loved one.

Is it safe to get a second pneumonia shot right now, especially for those in a higher risk group?

Yes. Talk with your provider regarding the need for vaccines especially if you are at an increased risk due to age or a depressed immune system. Vaccines should always be kept up to date.

If I keep groups to less than 10, can I have visitors in my home without having to worry?

Few visitors is not the same as no visitors – any visitor, if infected, may transmit COVID or another respiratory virus (e.g., influenza).

Should people cut their fingernails short to be more sanitary?

Long fingernails contain more bacteria under them. Healthcare personnel who have direct patient contact are not allowed to wear fingernail extenders or have long fingernails. Nail hygiene should be a regular part of hand hygiene.

If you are in the presence of someone (face-to-face) for a few minutes, is that enough time for the virus to be contracted?

Short contact times greatly reduce the likelihood of transmission but do not entirely eliminate the possibility. Always practice social distancing by keeping a distance of six feet or more.

Can the virus be transmitted from mosquitoes that have bitten an infected person?

There are a number of mosquito transmitted diseases such malaria and Zika. COVID-19 and HIV are not transmitted by mosquitoes.

What do I do if I need to refill my medications?

Please contact your provider to help you get early refills for your medications. If you have a My UNC Chart account, you may request refills there, too.

Why do you tell people to avoid sick people when people can carry and spread the virus but are not showing symptoms?

It is important for you to also follow the guideline to "put about six feet of distance between yourself and other people" as this will help prevent exposure from people who may not be showing symptoms.

I would like to donate supplies. What should I do?

Please visit our website for more information on what you can do to help. The site provides details of supply donations.

What To Do If You Have COVID-19 Symptoms?

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), click the purple Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of unchealthcare.org

This will bring up our coronavirus symptom checker that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up. You can also call your primary care provider.

Do not go to your doctor’s office or an urgent care without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.

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