• NCDHHS is working closely with local health departments, the State Laboratory for Public Health and health care providers to provide ongoing guidance for when testing is appropriate. 
  • If you have been tested for COVID-19, please talk to the provider or laboratory that performed the testing about when and how you will receive your test results. Your test results will not be available from NC 211.
  • The NC State Laboratory of Public Health and some commercial labs are conducting tests. CDC provides recommended criteria to guide decisions on testing, but health care providers are able to order COVID-19 testing for individuals as they see fit. 
  • For people with mild symptoms who don’t need medical care, getting a test will not change what you or your doctor do. Testing is most important for people who are seriously ill, in the hospital, people in high-risk settings like nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and health care workers and other first responders who are caring for those with COVID-19. 

Only those who meet the following criteria should ask their doctor or local health department about being tested for COVID-19: 

  • Have fever or lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 14 days; OR
  • Have fever and lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) and a negative rapid flu test.

Individuals without health insurance, who are not feeling well, should:

  • Call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). If you feel you may have COVID-19, be sure to disclose that when you call to obtain an appointment. FQHCs are community-based health care providers that receive federal funds to provide needed health services in communities across the state.
  • If you are not able to be seen at an FQHC, call your local health department. Free and charitable clinics may also be able to provide assistance. A list of these resources, including contact information, is provided by the Office of Rural Health. 
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or call ahead then go to the emergency room.


Low-Income Services give you access to health care, child care, housing, financial and nutrition assistance regardless of your financial status. These services can range from temporary to long-standing assistances.

Work First Family Assistance

  • North Carolina’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, called Work First (WF), is based on the premise that parents have a responsibility to support themselves and their children.
  • Work First provides parents with short-term training and other services to help them become employed and move toward self-sufficiency. Families in which grandparents and relatives are caring for their relative children and legal guardians can receive services and support that prevent children from unnecessarily entering the foster care system.
  • Under Work First, qualifying families may receive assistance through Benefit Diversion, Emergency Assistance, Work First services for low-income families whose income is below or at 200 percent of the federal poverty level, employment services for non-custodial parents and other supportive services, if applicable.
  • Families leaving WFFA for work may receive a job bonus payment for up to three months.
  • Apply at your local Department of Social Services. If you have questions please contact us.

Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps)

Food and Nutrition Services is a federal food assistance program that provides low-income families the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. Benefits are issued via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT cards). There are three ways to apply for Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps):

Call your county DSS office if one of these methods will not work for you.

Low Income Energy Assistance

  • The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a federally-funded program that provides for a one-time vendor payment to help eligible households pay their heating bills.
  • Households including a person aged 60 or older or disabled persons receiving services through the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services are eligible to sign up for assistance from Dec. 1 – 31. All other households may apply from Jan. 1 – March 31 or until funds are exhausted.
  • Click here for more info: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/low-income-energy-assistance

Crisis Intervention Program

Individuals and families experiencing a heating or cooling related crisis may apply for assistance through the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP). Applicants can complete a CIP application by mail, email, fax or drop-off at their local DSS. A face-to-face interview is not required at this time. In addition, disconnect notices are not required at this time. Applicants can present a final notice or past due utility bill and must have a health related or life-threatening emergency to potentially be eligible for crisis funds. Access the application here.


Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina:

  • During COVID-19, we are working hard to keep our Food Finder updated with local pantries that remain open and providing food. We strongly encourage you to call ahead to the agencies near your to confirm their hours and any social-distancing adjustments (such as curb-side pickup). https://foodbankcenc.org/find-help/food-finder/
  • Click here for a list of locations offering grab-and-go meals for kids during COVID-19.

Feeding the Carolinas:

  • Feeding the Carolinas is a two-state network of food banks working to solve hunger. Our network unites 10 member food banks to provide a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every community every day. Feeding the Carolinas member food banks support more than 3,700 local charitable agencies, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need to ensure hunger-free Carolinas. Each year, the Feeding the Carolinas network provides food to the 2.6 million Carolinians facing hunger, including hundreds of thousands of children and seniors. Feeding the Carolinas is a unified voice regarding hunger and food insecurity by focusing on all 146 counties in North and South Carolina.
  • For more info, click here: https://feedingthecarolinas.org/locations/


Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income individuals and families who cannot afford health care costs.

  • Medicaid may help pay for certain medical expenses including:
  • Doctor Bills
  • Hospital Bills
  • Prescriptions (Excluding prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries)
  • Vision Care
  • Dental Care
  • Medicare Premiums
  • Nursing Home Care
  • Personal Care Services (PCS), Medical Equipment, and Other Home Health Services
  • In-home care under the Community Alternatives Program (CAP)
  • Mental Health Care
  • Most medically necessary services for children under age 21

Click for more info: https://medicaid.ncdhhs.gov/

Pregnancy Services: Pregnancy services assist women during and after pregnancy. We provide family planning programs to help reduce the occurrence of unplanned pregnancies and offer education to parents and future parents to teach them how to properly care for their child(ren).


The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is providing the following guidance to help people understand the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus on unemployment insurance benefits. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.