Reduce Risk

Reduce Risk

At this time, New Hanover County is in a state of emergency which prohibits events and gatherings with more than 10 people.
Read the press release with all the details here.

What You Can Be Doing Now

View community guidance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for households, businesses, community organizations and others here. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents are encouraged to continue increased prevention measures and practice limited contact with others:

  • Follow social distancing: gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, under the State of Emergency, and individuals are encouraged to maintain 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, countertops and daily work surfaces).
  • Stay home and away from others when you are sick.

Current CDC guidance recommends the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

View a message about face covers from New Hanover County Personal Health Services Manager Carla Turner, RN, BSN, MSHA in the video below.

Cloth face covering information from the CDC can be found here.

Residents are also encouraged to prepare for the potential impacts of COVID-19 as you would for other emergencies, using the ReadyNHC steps:

  • Make a Plan
    • Plan for social distancing and other prevention measures.
    • If at-risk, cancel plans to attend large events and non-essential travel.
    • Plan for limiting the need to go out in public by utilizing services like delivery of groceries and other goods.
  • Build a Kit
    • Have non-perishable food and water, medications and anything you need to stay home for several days to limit the risk of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in your household.
  • Stay Informed

The NC Department of Health and Human Services and Governor’s Office have issued the following statewide mitigation measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional guidance for bars and restaurants, retail centers and public-facing businesses can be found by clicking here. 


If you need medical care and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you might have COVID-19, call ahead and tell your health care provider you have or may have COVID-19. This will allow them to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed. NC DHHS recommends that persons experiencing fever and cough should stay at home and not go out until their symptoms have completely resolved.


NC DHHS recommends that people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should stay at home to the extent possible to decrease the chance of infection. People at high risk include people:

  • Over 65 years of age, or
  • with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or
  • with weakened immune systems.


NC DHHS recommends that all facilities that serve as residential establishments for high risk persons described above should restrict visitors. Exceptions should include end of life care or other emergent situations determined by the facility to necessitate a visit. If visitation is allowed, the visitor should be screened and restricted if they have a respiratory illness or potential exposure to COVID-19. Facilities are encouraged to implement social distancing measures and perform temperature and respiratory symptom screening of residents and staff. These establishments include settings such as nursing homes, independent and assisted living facilities, correction facilities, and facilities that care for medically vulnerable children.


On March 14, Governor Roy Cooper ordered that all public schools (K-12) will be closed to students beginning Monday, March 16 for two weeks.


NC DHHS recommends that employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the greatest extent possible, stagger work schedules, and consider canceling non-essential travel. Workplaces should hold larger meetings virtually, to the extent possible. Additionally, employers should arrange the workspace to optimize distance between employees, ideally at least six feet apart. Employers should urge high risk employees to stay home and urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits.


Governor Roy Cooper has ordered that organizers of events that draw more than 100 people cancel, postpone, or modify these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.


Mass transit operators should maximize opportunities for cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. People should avoid using use mass transit (e.g. buses, trains) while sick.

New Hanover County, in line with federal recommendations and actions taken by the state, encourages residents to practice social distancing, and under the New Hanover County State of Emergency prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. To practice social distancing, individuals should maintain a distance of six feet from others, even in outdoor settings like parks, trails, picnic shelters and basketball and tennis courts. Signs have been placed throughout county parks reminding residents to practice social distancing.

According to the CDC, transmission of COVID-19 is thought to be between person-to-person:

  • Who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Transmission of COVID-19 could also occur from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, then touching mouth, nose or possibly eyes.

Social distancing, and other community guidance measures, reduce the risk of COVID-19 and are additional ways the community as a whole can protect those believed to be most at risk of serious illness: people over the age of 65, and those with underlying health conditions.

Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815