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NC health leaders announce Spanish language website, tools to check for COVID-19 symptoms

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says he will give a directive for reopening schools next week.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says he will give a directive for reopening schools next week.(WBTV | WBTV)
Updated: Jul. 16, 2020 at 11:42 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, especially in the Hispanic community, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launched new online tools to help Spanish-speaking North Carolinians to determine if they should consider being tested for COVID-19 and help individuals monitor their symptoms if they have tested positive for or been exposed to COVID-19.

“Reliable information is a powerful tool to fight COVID-19,” Cooper said. “This Spanish language symptom checker will help people identify symptoms and then connect them with resources to know where to get tested. All of this is important to slowing the spread of the disease.

“I am very concerned about the health of our Latinx/Hispanic community who have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “This new tool is one way that we can help our Spanish-speaking community members protect themselves and their families.”

North Carolina’s Latinx/Hispanic population is being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

As of mid-July, the state’s Latinx/Hispanic population represents 44 percent of cases where ethnicity is known, although they make up 9 percent of the state’s population.

Many in the Latinx/Hispanic community work in essential industries that North Carolina relies upon, such as construction, childcare and food processing.

Often, this work is in environments where social distancing can be challenging, health insurance is not provided and for a sick person, staying home could create a significant financial burden.

The new online tools are intended to help people know if they may need a test, how to get a test, and how to monitor their own symptoms if advised to do so. These tools include:

  • Check My Symptoms (Comprobar Mis Síntomas), a public website that allows people to enter their symptoms to determine if they should consider getting tested for COVID-19. If a test is recommended, they will receive a link to a list of nearby testing sites via email or text.
  • Find My Testing Place, a public website that allows people to enter their county or ZIP code and access a list of nearby testing site locations online. To view in Spanish, users can select Spanish in the yellow box.
  • COVID-19 Community Team Outreach (CCTO) Tool, password-protected online software that helps people track their own symptoms if they have been advised to do so by the COVID-19 Community Team.

Supporting Latinx/Hispanic Community with Linguistically Appropriate Contact Tracing

Through contact tracing, local health department staff and other COVID-19 Community Team members reach out to people who may have recently come into close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 and connect them with the information and support needed to protect themselves and their loved ones. Half of all new hires to the Community Team are bilingual.

“We are prioritizing hiring bilingual staff to support our Spanish-speaking community. We are making progress, but still have work to do,” said Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.

All information provided to the Community Team is confidential, and personal information or names will not be released to anyone. Any information that is shared with the COVID-19 Community Team is a private health record and is strictly confidential. Personal information will not be shared with other government agencies, and the names of individuals and contacts will not be released or shared. The Community Team will work to connect anyone who needs additional help as they monitor their symptoms or stay at home with the resources they need. Their name might be shared in this case, with their permission.

The Community Team will never ask for someone’s Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information. If you are asked for this information, please hang up and call your local health department to report the incident.

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