Symptoms & Testing

Symptoms and TestingThe North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced new guidance, consistent with guidance from the CDC, regarding testing for COVID-19. Changes in testing recommendations include: People with mild symptoms consistent with COVID-19 do NOT need testing and should be instructed to stay at home to recover.

Mild symptoms are defined as fever and cough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate respiratory illness, with those over 65 or with underlying health issues like chronic lung disease, asthma, compromised immune systems and obesity are at higher risk of serious illness. Pregnant women should also be monitored since they are known to be at risk of viral illness. View the most recent information about who is at most risk at

If you are experiencing fever and cough with more severe symptoms, including shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest discomfort, altered thinking, cyanosis (blueish discoloration of the skin) or other ailments, or if you are at-risk of more serious illness, call your healthcare provider or walk-in clinic before visiting the office to alert staff of symptoms, so they can take appropriate steps to prepare for your visit.

People who are tested for COVID-19 by their doctor or New Hanover County Public Health should meet the following criteria, in accordance with guidance from NCDHHS:

  1. Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days ; or
  2. Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative flu test.


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.

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