Physician Resources

UNC Health is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for COVID-19. Please first look for answers to general questions in the resources on the CDC website for Healthcare Professionals.

What are the latest guidelines for patient care and treatment of COVID-19?

The CDC provides information about the following:

PPE Burn Rate Calculator

Use the CDC’s calculator to plan and optimize the use of PPE for response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Treatment Resources and Latest News

External providers are now able to place requests for COVID-19 therapeutics (infusions, injections) in CareLink. These orders route to a centralized workqueue that nurses at UNC will work and contact the patient to schedule.

Place an Order for Outpatient Infusion COVID-19 Therapy in CareLink [PDF]

All clinicians treating patients for COVID-19 are encouraged to watch this video with Dr. David Wohl, as he provides an overview on two oral therapeutics: Paxlovid and Molunipiravir. As UNC Health receives additional supplies of these medications, we want to ensure clinicians know when it is (and isn't) appropriate to prescribe them to help prevent hospitalization for COVID+ patients.

Outpatient Treatment & Prevention Guidance

Current Prioritization of COVID-19 Therapeutics:

  • Paxlovid
  • Bebtelovimab
  • Remdesivir
  • Molnupiravir

CDC Guidance for People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

A guide for actions that healthcare facilities and others can take to protect people experiencing homelessness from the spread of COVID-19.

Pediatric Information

Information from the CDC indicates that COVID-19 symptoms in children may be similar to those of common viral respiratory infections, and complications tend to be less severe than in adults. As there are no antiviral drugs approved for COVID-19, CDC recommendations include supportive management of symptoms and complications.

Symptoms include:

  • symptoms of respiratory infection
  • cough
  • nasal congestion
  • rhinorrhea
  • sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported.

If a patient has any of the below symptoms, has been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19 less than 21 days ago, UNC Health asks that patients call their provider's office before attending their next appointment.

For more guidance for diagnosing and treating pediatric patients, visit the Health Professionals section of the CDC website.

What Is UNC Health's COVID-19 Strategy

The key components of our strategy regarding COVID-19 are below.

Identify:

  • All persons with respiratory infection symptoms (e.g., fever, cough) should be provided with tissues to cover their mouth, cough, and nose and asked to thoroughly wash their hands.
  • Masks should be provided when patients have a cough that cannot be contained with tissues, for patients who screen positive for suspected COVID-19, or for severely immunocompromised patients (e.g., CF, transplant) who are instructed to wear a mask by their physician.
  • Obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and/or acute respiratory illness. Current case definition for patients under investigation of novel coronavirus.

Isolate:

  • Patients with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 or other respiratory infection (e.g., fever, cough) should be isolated in a private room with the door closed and should wear a mask.
  • Healthcare providers should obtain a detailed travel history for patients being evaluated with fever and/or acute respiratory illness.

Inform:

  • Healthcare providers should immediately notify both infection prevention personnel, and their local or state health department for any patients under investigation of novel coronavirus for additional and more specific infection prevention guidance (use of Special airborne/contact precautions and Lab instructions).
  • Immediately notify both your local Infection Prevention team and the N.C. State Health Department at 919-733-3419

What is UNC Health advising for patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19?

If a patient has any of the below symptoms, they can use UNC Health’s symptom checker. This will lead them through some questions to determine if they need medical follow-up. If a patient has been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19 less than 21 days ago, UNC Health asks that patients call their provider's office before attending their next appointment.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Shaking with chills
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

COVID-19 Testing at UNC Health

UNC Health patients who need a COVID-19 test, can do the following:

  • Schedule a test using My UNC Chart and selecting “Schedule an Appointment” from the menu.
  • Contact their UNC Health provider and ask to be scheduled for the test.

Other options for Testing

COVID-19 testing is available throughout North Carolina including at many area clinics and pharmacies. Testing sites can be found on the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Individuals can also request a free at-home test kit from LabCorp. Read the instructions on how to request a kit.

Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from USPS.com. Here’s what they need to know about their order:

  • Limit of one order per residential address
  • One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
  • Orders ship free

Does being pregnant increase my risk of progressing to more severe COVID-19?

Yes. Available data show that pregnant individuals who become infected with COVID-19 are much more likely to die or experience serious complications compared to pregnant individuals who do not become infected with COVID-19. In addition, COVID-19 also puts the baby at risk—those who contract the virus during pregnancy face a higher risk of preterm birth and stillbirth.

Unvaccinated pregnant individuals are especially at risk. Since vaccines became widely available, the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have been unvaccinated. In addition, both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) have recommended individuals who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should get vaccinated and get a booster shot when eligible.   

Recent studies show that vaccinating pregnant women against COVID-19 may help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations in infants after they are born, especially if the expecting mothers received their shots later in their pregnancy.

Are COVID-19 medications for safe for people who are pregnant?

Yes, with the exception of Molnupiravir. Individuals who are at high risk for developing severe illness, which includes those who are pregnant, are likely to benefit from medications and treatments to limit the progression of COVID-19. The FDA has authorized, under emergency use authorization, treatments based on studies that show they are effective at keeping people from requiring hospitalization. The following treatment options are available for people who are pregnant:

  • Paxlovid

    Paxlovid is an antiviral pill for adults and children ages 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and who are at high risk of severe disease and hospitalization. It is the most effective treatment available at this time for mild to moderate COVID symptoms in high-risk individuals and considered to be more effective than monoclonal treatment. 

    Paxlovid consists of two medications taken together, nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. In total, three pills are taken twice a day for five days as soon as someone develops symptoms. It should be started within five days of symptoms. The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine endorses the use of Paxlovid in pregnancy.

    There is no cost for this treatment.

  • Monoclonal Antibody Treatment

    Antibodies are part of our natural defense against viruses such COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies produced in a lab that are given through an IV as a one-time infusion to outpatients who have COVID-19. For people with COVID-19, the antibodies get into the circulation before the body can make its own antibodies, which provides a kick-start in fighting the virus.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACOG recommends monoclonal antibody infusion therapy within the first 10 days of COVID-19 symptoms to help lessen the severity of the disease for pregnant individuals and their unborn babies. Ideally, the infusion should occur in the first four days of symptoms.

    Bebtoluvimab is a monoclonal antibody treatment that is effective against circulating variants of Omicron. Monoclonal antibodies can be used in pregnant individuals.

    There is no cost for this treatment.

  • Remdesivir

    Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been approved by the FDA for adults and certain pediatric patients with COVID-19 who are sick enough to need hospitalization. It is now also approved to give to outpatients. Remdesivir requires infusion through an IV over three consecutive days.

    A clinical research study found that a three-day course of this antiviral was effective at preventing the need for hospitalization in outpatients with COVID-19. Rates of hospitalization or death were about 87 percent lower in study participants treated with Remdesivir.

    Remdesivir can be given to pregnant women. 
    • This is an FDA approved medication, and you or your insurance company can be billed for its cost.

    To see if these treatments are available or if you are eligible for treatment talk to your doctor.