Information About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
What is it?
- A disease caused by a new respiratory virus identified in Wuhan, China and now in many countries, including the U.S.
- Can cause severe illness and pneumonia.
- Symptoms can be mild to severe with fever, cough, shortness of breath.
How is it spread?
- Through the air by coughing or sneezing.
- By close personal contact, such as shaking hands.
- By touching a surface that has the virus, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
How is it prevented?
Similar to the prevention of other respiratory illnesses, including the flu.
- Wash hands often, including surface areas such as desks and phones.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs with a tissue or sleeve.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Stay home if you are ill. Most people with mild illness will recover on their own at home by drinking fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications.
- If symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider for directions.
Who is most at risk?
- Travelers to and from certain areas of China and some other countries, as well as their close contacts, are most at risk.
- Older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions may have a more severe illness.
- Travelers entering the U.S. from many countries affected by COVID-19 and those exposed to known cases are being screened for illness.
- Public Health officials in our area, as well as worldwide, are monitoring for any changes to this virus and taking action to prevent the spread of illness.
How to Protect Yourself (from the Centers of Disease Control)
- Know How it Spreads
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid becoming exposed to the virus, if possible.
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
- Take Steps to Protect Yourself
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially if you have been out in public.
- If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face--especially with unwashed hands.
- Avoid Close Contact
- This is especially important for those who may be at higher risk of getting very sick, including older adults or people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease or other respiratory health issues, heart disease, diabetes and HIV.
- Take Steps to Protect Others
- Stay at home if you are sick, except to get medical care as recommended by your doctor. If you are sick, it is important to stay away from others. This is called "home isolation" or "self isolation." For more information on what to do if you are sick or showing symptoms, please click here to view recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC).
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including phones, doorknobs, desks, keyboards, countertops, sinks, and toilets.
Understanding the Difference: Quarantine, Isolation, and Social Distancing
Quarantines are for people or groups who do not have symptoms but were exposed to the sickness. A quarantine keeps that individual away from others so he/she does not unknowingly infect anyone.
Isolation is similar to quarantining, but helps to keep people who are infected away from healthy people to prevent the sickness from spreading.
Social Distancing involves avoiding non-essential activities as well as using caution for those activities that are needed, including: picking up medications, grocery shopping for essentials, getting gas for your vehicle, etc.