Symptoms & Information

Symptoms and TestingInformación en Español aquí

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, congestion or runny nose, and new loss of taste or smell. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

The CDC recommends you stay home and separate yourself from other people in the home as much as possible if:

  • You are sick with COVID-19
  • You believe you might have it
  • You think you might have COVID-19 and have mild symptoms

Before going to a health care provider, clinic, hospital or emergency room, call ahead to describe your symptoms and how you might have been exposed to the virus. In the event of an emergency call 9-1-1.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

No one group, ethnicity or population in the US is more likely to get or spread coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than others. While some people may be worried or have concerns about COVID-19, it is important to not let fear lead to social stigma toward others.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus first identified in Wuhan, China. It has now been detected in 37 countries, including cases in the United State.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

About 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild. Many people may not even realize they are sick. Those at greatest risk of complications if infected with COVID-19 are the elderly and those with immune deficiencies and chronic health issues.

New Hanover County Public Health is working closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health, and other health and local partners in monitoring the virus. New Hanover County has a framework for response specific to COVID-19 in place.

Some travel guidance and restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For travel restriction information, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

While there is no substitute for a conversation with a medical provider, Check My Symptoms is a public website that allows you to enter your symptoms to see if you should get tested for COVID-19. After entering symptoms — if getting tested is recommended — you’ll receive a text or email with how to find nearby testing locations. The symptom checker is an informational tool to help you determine if you may need to be tested; however, it is not a physician order. Some testing locations may require additional screenings.

NCDHHS released updated guidance for doctors and clinicians on who should be tested for COVID-19.This includes:

  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of known positive cases, regardless of symptoms.
  • Groups of some of the populations with higher risk of exposure or a higher risk of severe disease if they become infected. People in these groups should get tested if they believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, whether or not they have symptoms.
    • People who live in or have regular contact with high-risk settings (e.g., long-term care facility, homeless shelter, correctional facility, migrant farmworker camp).
    • People from historically marginalized populations who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This fact sheet provides best practices for community testing in historically marginalized populations.
    • Frontline and essential workers (grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, child care workers, construction sites, processing plants, etc.)
    • Health care workers or first responders.
    • People who are at higher risk of severe illness.
  • People who have attended protests, rallies, or other mass gatherings could have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or could have exposed others.

Visit Find My Testing Place, an interactive map on the NCDHHS COVID-19 website that allows you to enter your ZIP code and get a list of nearby testing site locations. It is free and available in many languages. Click on the Google Translate dropdown menu to select your preferred language.

If you do not have internet or smartphone access, you can call the NHC Coronavirus Call Center at 910-798-6800 for local testing resources available to you.

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