RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - As the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise in North Carolina, state officials say they have no plans to close grocery stores.
Price gouging, phishing scams and robocalls are among concerns circulating during the health crisis, and reports are currently being investigated, health officials said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Another important piece of information coming out of the state’s Wednesday presser highlighted pregnant women.
Dr. Elizabeth Tilson with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced pregnant women are now included in the “high-risk” category for COVID-19.
“Don’t go out,” said Dr. Tilson, who urged pregnant women to follow the same recommendation of others in the high-risk category. “Making sure you are doing the social distancing, washing your hands really well all the same recommendations we’re having for other people in high risk categories also applies to pregnant women.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently does not “know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result.”
On their Pregnancy & Breastfeeding website, the CDC admits their doctors still don’t know whether pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus that causes COVID-19 to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.
No infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
“It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses,” says the CDC.
Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection, according to the CDC. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:
- Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
- Avoid people who are sick
- Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Price-gouging in North Carolina
It is now illegal in the state of North Carolina for someone to sell a product at an excessive price, officials say.
State leaders say criminals are trying to steal money from the vulnerable. “We will act quickly and aggressively against any price gouger,” state officials said. “We have to go investigate each complaint to determine if it’s valid."
Reports of price-gouging over groceries, hand sanitizer and cleaning products are being investigated. Those who want to report a complaint regarding price-gouging can click here.
Increases in false promises and telemarketing have also been reported.
“I just got an email promising me a miracle cure,” a state official said, regarding the coronavirus. “There is no miracle cure.”
Residents can report robo calls to: 844-8-NOROBO.
“If you want to help – give money to the food bank, give money to the Red Cross,” health officials said, “you don’t want it [your money] lying in some criminal’s pocket.”
“We’ve been seeing a surge of non-emergency calls at our centers’ 911 stations,” emergency management officials said.
Residents with non-emergency coronavirus-related questions are asked to call 211. Callers will be rerouted based on their question, which may include food assistance and family support.
“The state has no plans to direct grocery stores to close,” state officials said, urging people to stop “stock-piling” groceries. “Try not to do panic-buying," Mike Sprayberry said.
“Stores are getting regular deliveries,” officials said, reiterating what Gov. Roy Cooper said in days prior. “Leave some for others, especially those who can’t afford to buy a lot of food all at once”