COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO’s) mission is to improve the health of communities by strengthening and advocating for local health departments (LHDs).

This FAQ provides various resources and guidance for questions that NACCHO frequently receives. For the most up-to-date information for your local area, visit your LHD’s website. If you do not know your LHD, please visit our LHD Directory to find it.

    • NACCHO is responding to COVID-19 by:
      • Maintaining situational awareness at the federal, national, state, and local levels
      • Supporting LHDs through ongoing, timely sharing of information to help protect the public
      • Facilitating information-sharing between the federal government and local jurisdictions
      • Advocating for federal policies and funding to support the current COVID-19 response and strengthen future public health infrastructure and capacity (Learn more)
      • Generating and reviewing evidence, and collecting and analyzing data to create a better understanding of the needs of LHDs
      • Understanding and being responsive to LHD needs and requests; and
      • Promoting and highlighting the critical role of LHDs to the media, policymakers, and the general public during ongoing outbreaks. (Learn more)

    For more information, please visit NACCHO’s Response Efforts Around COVID-19 webpage.

    • While we thank you for your offer of support or offer to share a resource, LHDs are inundated with resources, information, and guidance from multiple sources. As the association representing LHDs across the country, our obligation is to help reduce information overload to our members while also recognizing that there are many organizations that may have excellent products or services that could assist our public health system. Therefore, to share information with our members, NACCHO is compiling a Resource Guide which will be shared with all LHDs on a weekly basis. Please note that being included in this resource guide is not and should not be considered an endorsement by NACCHO.
      • If you wish to be featured in this Resource Guide, please email preparedness@naccho.org with the following information:
        • Name of Organization
        • Contact information (name, e-mail, phone number)
        • A maximum of two sentences describing your service/resource offering and its value to local health departments
      • Please note that no ancillary information (e.g., fact sheets, flyers, diagrams, lengthy descriptions) is being accepted at this time.
    • If you are interested in including information about LHDs’ and/or interviewing one of NACCHO’s experts, please email Andrea Grenadier (agrenadier@naccho.org), NACCHO’s COVID-19 Deputy PIO, and Cc: Theresa Spinner (tspinner@naccho.org), NACCHO’s Director of Media Relations. Please use subject line: COVID-19 Interview/Information Request.
    • To view current media engagement, visit the NACCHO Newsroom

    While we thank you for your interest in contributing to NACCHO’s publications and digital platforms, we are currently unable to accept external content for publication.

    • Local health departments are on the front lines responding to COVID-19, working closely with local governments, state health departments, healthcare and hospital facilities, first responders, and other partners to protect the health and safety of their communities.
    • Local health department roles include, but are not limited, to:
      • Communicating up to date COVID-19 information to their community and answering questions. LHDs also translate relevant information into the languages spoken in their community.
      • Working with their state health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support COVID-19 testing efforts.
      • Monitoring people with COVID-19 and identifying their close contacts to ensure the health of the community (contact tracing).
      • Keeping track of COVID-19 cases and outcomes in their community.
      • Working with hospitals and other healthcare facilities to relay community needs to state and federal partners.
      • Advising local officials, schools, and businesses on COVID-19 containment and mitigation strategies.
      • Actively working to combat stigma in the community.
    • For the most up-to-date information for your local area, visit your local health department’s (LHD) website. If you do not know your LHD, please visit our LHD Directory to find it.

    As the situation with COVID-19 continuously evolves, NACCHO recommends that you follow the most current guidance provided by your local and state governments.

    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after you have coughed or sneezed.

    • Wear a cloth face covering when in public and unable to maintain social distancing (i.e. grocery stores and pharmacies), making sure both your mouth and nose are fully covered.
    • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if hand soap is not available.
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with others. The CDC recommends keeping at least six feet between yourself and other people when in a public space.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, countertops, phones, handles, and faucets. Visit CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home for more information.
    • For more information, visit the CDC’s Prevent Getting Sick page.
    • Social distancing means avoiding crowded public places, mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (at least six feet) from other people when possible.
    • Examples of social distancing include:
      • Working from home instead of in the office
      • Using an electronic device to visit with friends and family members
      • Only leaving your home to exercise alone or with someone in your home, or for essential trips such as going to the grocery store or medical care.
    • If you think you may have COVID-19, we encourage you to first call your primary-care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, call your LHD for advice on where to be seen. If you do not have your LHD contact information, please visit our LHD Directory.
    • Stay home, except to get medical care. Make sure to first call your doctor to discuss your symptoms before visiting your doctor’s office, as this will limit potential COVID-19 exposure to both yourself and others in the doctor’s office.
    • For more information, visit the CDC’s If You Are Sick page.

    For information on how to care for someone who’s sick and prevent further transmission within your household, see the CDC’s Guidance to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Homes.

    If you (or a family member) are sick with COVID-19 or think you may have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and protect those around you:

    • Stay home if possible.
    • Practice home isolation by separating yourself from others in your home. Wear a facemask if you are around other people (for example, when you go to a healthcare provider’s office).
    • Wash your hands often.
    • Monitor your symptoms.
    • Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse.
    • For more information, contact your primary care-physician or visit the CDC’s If You Are Sick page.
    • If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, we encourage you to first contact your primary-care physician and then, if necessary, your local health department to determine if you should be tested.
    • Visit the CDC’s Testing for COVID-19 page for more information about testing.
    • If you think you may have COVID-19, we encourage you to contact your primary-care physician to determine if you should be tested. If you do not have a primary care physician, call your LHD for advice on if or where you should be tested.
    • Visit the CDC’s Testing for COVID-19 page for more information about testing.
    • Not all healthcare facilities have COVID-19 testing capabilities. The best way to get information on where you can get tested, or if you should get tested, is from your primary-care physician or local health department.
    • Laws regarding privacy and landlord/tenant issues vary depending on the state and local jurisdictions in which you live. As a result, NACCHO is unable to provide specific guidance on each unique situation and encourages you to seek assistance from your state and local governments.
    • However, the standard methods for protecting yourself and your family against novel coronavirus remain important:
      • Avoid contact with those who are sick.
      • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if hand soap is not available.
      • Practice social distancing.
      • Wear a cloth face covering when in public and unable to maintain social distancing, making sure both your mouth and nose are fully covered.
      • Do not touch your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
      • Frequently disinfect objects and surfaces.
    • For more information, contact your local health department.
    • If you know someone has tested positive, this means that the local and national authorities are already aware of this case, and therefore there is no need for you to report it.
    • For more information related to reporting COVID-19 cases, visit your state or local health department’s website.

    If you have, or think you have COVID-19, we encourage you to contact your primary-care physician.

    For information related to a COVID-19 Hotline for your city or county, visit your local health department’s website.

    • Ready.gov has a variety of ways you can volunteer your time during the COVID-19 pandemic, including joining your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD).
    • Non-medical professionals can also volunteer their time at their local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). The MRC is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to help strengthen public health, reduce vulnerability, build resilience, and improve preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities during times of need. The MRC network comprises around 175,000 volunteers in approximately 850 community-based units located throughout the U.S. and its territories.
    • At this point, health departments at the local and state level are at different stages of planning and hiring additional contact tracers. We encourage you to check your Local and State Health Departments’ websites for hiring opportunities.
    • NACCHO recognizes the need for at least 100,000 contact tracers and is working to advocate for support for this expanded workforce. NACCHO’s full position statement can be found here.
    • For information on where you can get PPE and other materials to treat COVID-19, contact your state or local health department.
    • Additionally, visit Seattle-King County Local Health Department’s PPE Conservation and Alternatives page and the CDC Strategies to Optimize PPE & Equipment page for useful guidance related to using your current supply.

    For information related to where you can get COVID-19 test kits, contact your state or local health department.

    • Contact your local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). The MRC is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to help strengthen public health, reduce vulnerability, build resilience, and improve preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities during times of need. The MRC network comprises around 175,000 volunteers in approximately 850 community-based units located throughout the U.S. and its territories.
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