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The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is closely monitoring the outbreak of a novel coronavirus. The virus emerged in Wuhan, China in January 2020 and has spread to other countries. There have been several confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, according to recent news reports. 

Symptoms of coronavirus 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

How the virus is transmitted

The illness has caused pneumonia that can be severe especially for people with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems. 

Currently, there are no antiviral medications or vaccinations against this virus. This virus is transmitted by respiratory secretions, such as sneezing or coughing. 

Avoidance of sick people and hand washing is your best prevention.  More will be learned about this virus as this outbreak evolves.

 

No time to visit a doctor? Not a problem with telehealth

Telehealth benefits typically include evaluations and consultations for common health conditions and provider-to-provider consultations.

Members who receive health insurance through their employer and qualify for this benefit can speak to a board-certified doctor or pediatrician through secure online, video consults on their mobile phone, tablet or computer.

The video chats are a great option for minor health issues and non-emergencies when members can’t get in to see their regular doctor.

Video consultations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An appointment is not needed. Telehealth does not replace your primary care doctor. It’s just an easier way to get care for common health problems. Read more here

The Virus Origin

COVID-19 spread began in Wuhan province in China in December 2019, infecting tens of thousands of residents resulting in over 2000 deaths.  It has since spread to other countries

Air travel and public transportation in and out of these cities have been shut down. The Center for Disease Control has advised avoiding non-essential travel to these areas.

Anyone who has returned from China within the past 14 days and is sick with fever and cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care right away and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of recent travel and symptoms.

CDC Precautions

The CDC suggests the following precautions for anyone traveling to an area where coronavirus is prevalent:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

This outbreak is evolving rapidly so we encourage you to check-in with the latest updates from the CDC. In addition, reference the updated CDC Travel Notice about this outbreak.  

Coronavirus Testing

At this time, testing the Coronavirus can only be conducted through the CDC. If you have symptoms go to your doctor to determine if you need testing. State and local health departments who identify a person under investigation (PUI) will notify the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to report and determine whether testing for the virus is needed. The EOC will assist local/state health departments to collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately to CDC, including during after-hours or on weekends/holidays. Currently, there is no fee for the test.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Blue Cross NC and local agencies

Blue Cross NC will be monitoring this outbreak, and its potential impact on members, employees and public health. 

We have customarily been guided by recommendations from the CDC, and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and have partnered with local and state health departments to assure optimal prevention and treatment.

The North Carolina Division of Public Health has established a call line at 1-866-462-3821 to address general questions about coronavirus from the public. In the event of an emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Dr. Larry Wu

About Dr. Larry Wu

Larry Wu, MD is a regional medical director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and provides consultative services for employee health solutions, prevention, chronic disease, care management, medical expense and utilization management. He is a family physician with over 20 years in clinical practice, has served as clinic director in the Indian Health Service, Kaiser Permanente and Duke Family Medicine and currently maintains a part-time clinical practice.