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Rural Health Group continues to monitor coronavirus — COVID-19 — as is Roanoke Rapids city government.

Dr. Ronald Hughes, RHG chief medical officer and Dr. Alison Bartel, associate medical director, said COVID-19 is a new virus that causes symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, which develop two to 14 days after being exposed to an infected person. 

The symptoms are all very similar to those from the flu or common cold. “You should call your provider if you develop these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have recently travelled to an area inside or outside the United States with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.”

RHG said people can protect themselves from the virus by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — singing Happy Birthday twice — and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. “Older adults and people with severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease should avoid exposure to large crowds of people in enclosed spaces, avoid nonessential travel and keep away from others who are sick.” 

Currently there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus and it is hard to predict how long the pandemic will last or how widespread it will become.

“Rural Health Group is staying up-to-date on the latest precautions and advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services,” the doctors said.

Meanwhile, in a statement today, the city said, “The safety and security of our community is the city of Roanoke Rapids’ top priority. We are taking the current spread of COVID-19 very seriously and are working in partnership with Halifax County and other local partners as we continue to monitor this evolving situation closely.”

The city remains fully operational at this time and residents will be informed should any functions or services change.

Currently, the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 in North Carolina is still low. “However, we encourage you to take the following measures to help you remain healthy.”

Those measures are:

Staying home if you are ill

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched

Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing

Discarding tissues after a single use

Following the CDC’s travel guidances