What is Novel Coronavirus?
The 2019 novel coronavirus disease is a new type of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. The name of this disease has been abbreviated to COVID-19. It is part of the family of viruses that cause the common cold and results in a range of flu-like symptoms.
Have I been exposed?
To get COVID-19, you need to have close contact with a sick person with COVID-19. Close contact means living in the same household with them, or taking care of them while they are sick, being physically close (within six feet) to them for more than 10 minutes, or literally being directly coughed on by someone with COVID-19. If you have not had this kind of close contact with a sick person with COVID-19, you are considered to be at low risk for infection. If you are not sure what kind of contact you have had, you can call your healthcare provider and ask.
Should I be tested?
We know many people are wondering, if they have fever and a cough, do they need to be tested for COVID-19? We are prioritizing the tests for people with underlying health conditions or serious illness. Testing may become more readily available in the future, but for now, if you have mild symptoms (cough, fever), you need to stay home and stay away from people. A test, whether it’s positive or negative, won’t change that advice!
Who is most at risk for getting COVID-19?
The elderly (60 and over) and those with underlying health care conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are at most risk of developing the disease. However, most people who contract the virus will come down with only a mild case of the illness and will recover.
What are the symptoms?
- Shortness of breath
Should I wear a mask?
If you are healthy, wearing a mask around town will not help protect you from COVID-19. Masks are for people who have coughs. We give them out at our Emergency Department and clinics because that’s where people with coughs might go. Otherwise, if you have a cough and a fever, you should be home, where you do not need to wear a mask.
Should I take some masks from my health care provider?
Absolutely not. We have a worldwide shortage of masks. Please reserve them for the people who need them most – people who are sick and the health care providers who spend all day in close contact with sick people!
I run a large event, should I cancel it?
If you are planning on holding a large event that involves people who may be at high risk of severe illness, like people over age 60 or who have chronic diseases like diabetes or asthma, and this event is not an essential part of your business, it is reasonable to consider cancelling or rescheduling this event. If you are not running the event, but were planning to attend, and you do not feel good, please stay home. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
What are some tips for staying healthy?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover your cough or sneeze with disposable tissue
- Stay home if you are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Alcohol-based hand rubs are a quick and effective way to sanitize your hands
- Get a flu shot. A flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, but if you do get the flu, your symptoms will be less severe, easing the burden on health care facilities.
What to do if you become sick
If you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or is undergoing testing for COVID-19, or you have recently traveled to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, call your health care your provider before going to the clinic or physician office. If you are having chest pain, serious difficulty breathing, or another type of medical emergency, call 911.
For the latest information and guidance on COVID-19, click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.