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County opens Coronavirus call center

Mar 19, 2020 01:53PM

On Wednesday, March 11th, the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services opened a dedicated Coronavirus Call Center to handle questions and concerns about COVID-19. The call center can be reached by dialing (704) 862-5303 and will be open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours calls will be directed to the state’s 24/7 call center. If someone is having a medical emergency, they should call 911.

Updated information is available online at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and www.gastongov.com/coronavirus. The public is encouraged to go here first for answers to their general questions.

With this call center, local officials are emphasizing the “Call Before you Come” guidance. Individuals with respiratory symptoms should call their provider or urgent care and let them know of their symptoms, travel history, and any contact with individuals who have tested positive for the virus before presenting to be seen. Individuals should not show up at the health department, the ER, or any medical practice to be tested for COVID-19, but should call the hotline or their provider to review symptoms and risk.

“We hope this action will help ensure our local medical facilities and public health department are not at increased risk of exposure by individuals who are presenting to clinics because they are not sure what to do or where to go”, shared Department of Health & Human Services Director Chris Dobbins. “We are here to answer their questions, address their concerns, and help direct them to the appropriate place for follow-up care.”

The risk to the general public remains low, but older adults and those with severe medical conditions including heart, lung or kidney disease should stay at home as much as possible. People in those categories are also advised to avoid crowds and travel. There are seven presumptive positive cases in North Carolina and as testing supplies become widely available, officials expect to see more.