The Wilkes County Health Department issued a reminder about ways people can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other pertinent information.

They are frequent hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds each time, staying home when you’re sick; keeping distance from others who are sick; avoiding touching your face; cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces in common areas like doorknobs, remotes, light switches, tables and handles; practicing social distancing of at least six feet from others; and not congregating with more than nine people.

Chief signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. However, people can be infected with the virus and spread it to others while having mild or even no apparent symptoms.

Self-isolating

“Please be aware that you may hear about people who have been instructed by their healthcare provider to self-isolate since they have been tested for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This does not mean that they have tested positive’ it means that they are being guided to stay home until a test result is provided. This is a standard procedure for managing public health outbreaks,” the health department stated

Those at higher risk for severe illness include:

• adults over the age of 65;

• those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease or diabetes;

• those with weakened immune systems;

• pregnant women.

Utility bills, bank fees

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper prohibited providers of certain types of utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay their utility bills during the pandemic for the next 60 days. The order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services

The order directed utility companies to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibited them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment.

Cooper strongly urged telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services to follow the same rules. 

“This action is particularly important since tomorrow (Wednesday) is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” said Cooper. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we stay at home.”

The order also encouraged banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. It said landlords are strongly encouraged to follow the spirit of an order by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley by delaying evictions already entered in the court system.

Additional resources for information on COVID-19 are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and the N.C. Division of Public Health website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus.

To view the COVID-19 case count for North Carolina, including a state map showing the confirmed presence of COVID-19, go to the DHHS website. 

A COVID-19 toll free helpline has been set up to answer general, non-emergent questions at 1-866-462-3821.

To submit questions online, go to www.ncpoisoncontrol.org and select “chat.” 

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