*This article and any information contained herein is obtained from the CDC website referenced below. This is a very brief summary and is not inclusive of everything that is currently known about COVID-19 and is for informational purposes only.
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It was first identified in Wuhan, China.
Can people in the U.S. get COVID-19?
COVID-19 has been identified throughout the world in approximately 90 locations, including the United States.
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.?
Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 originally was found in animal sources. It appears that the virus is spreading from person to person via respiratory droplets. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
- shortness of breath
What are severe complications from this virus?
Many patients have pneumonia in both lungs. In the most severe cases, patients will suffer organ failure and death.
How can I help protect myself?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
What If You Are Already Sick?
To keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Avoid travel to areas with widespread illness from COVID-19
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I recently traveled Internationally and got sick?
If you travelled internationally (to high-risk countries, China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and Japan or Hong Kong) within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Is there a treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with mild symptoms of COVID-19 should call their primary care physician (PCP) for medical treatment.
For more information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19
METHODS FOR LIMITING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
As the Coronavirus continues to spread, CDC and other public health organizations warn the public to engage in methods that help individuals and communities prevent contracting the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have listed these methods below to include links to help our community stay informed.
According to the CDC, self-isolation is very critical to preventing the spread of sickness especially in the case of COVID-19. To be clear, self-isolation is required for individuals who are already sick. CDC recommends that individuals should self-isolate for at least 14 days.
Who Should Isolate?
People at higher risk and or are already sick should isolate. Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness including older adults, and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. If you fall into any of these categories, please take steps to isolate.
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
- Stock up on supplies.
- STAY HOME
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
What is a quarantine?
Quarantine is the separation of a person (or group of people) who is believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease, but who is not currently showing symptoms.
What is self-quarantine?
If you have been exposed to COVID-19, you may decide to self-quarantine, or voluntarily refrain from going out of your home. The CDC and other health officials recommend that if you self-quarantine, you do so for 14 days. If you have contracted COVID-19, you would show symptoms or will have had the opportunity for testing for the virus to know for sure if you are contagious.
What is the difference between isolation and home quarantine?
- Isolation is for people who already ARE sick.
- Quarantine is for people who might become sick.
Who should Home Quarantine?
Individuals who have been exposed to the virus or have tested positive for the virus should self/home quarantine. In addition, individuals who have been within 6 feet of someone infected are at risk and should self-quarantine as a precaution.
If you fall in any of the above categories,you should self/home quarantine.
Individuals who are self/home quarantined should NOT
- run errands
- take public transportation
- go to work
- have visitors.
How do you know if you should self-quarantine?
- The CDC has issued recommendations for travelers arriving from certain countries to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- If someone at your work or school was definitely exposed, you may want to consider self-quarantine.
- If you have a fever and a dry cough
- If you are unsure if you should self-quarantine, call your doctor and tell them why you think you may have been exposed to the virus and what you should do.
As a means for preventing the spread of COVID-19 individuals should refrain from attending social and or community events. This is a way to protect yourself and community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses. CDC is aggressively responding to the global outbreak of COVID-19 and community spread in the United States. CDC’s “All of Community” approach is focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 and reducing illness and death while minimizing social and economic impacts. According to the CDC, social distancing includes “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
- Examples of “congregate settings” the CDC warns about would be:
- Crowded public places such as shopping centers, movie theaters or stadiums
- Mass transit
- Sporting events
Avoiding larger crowds during this time to flatten the curve is key to slow the spread of COVID-19. Other ways of social distancing are the following:
- Working from home instead of at the office
- Closing schools or switching to online classes
- Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in-person
- Canceling or postponing conferences and large meetings
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
- Pay attention to potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
- If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.