Q: What is COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.
Health experts are closely monitoring the situation because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.
Q: How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?
A: COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. That means to become infected, you generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Q: How long does it take for symptoms of the COVID-19 to appear?
A: The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure.
Q: How is COVID-19 treated?
A: There is currently no FDA approved medication for COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
Q: Is there a vaccine?
A: Currently, there is no vaccine available.
Q: How can I best protect myself?
A: Practice the following:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 75% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Standard household cleansers and wipes are effective in cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
Q: Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?
A: If you are sick
: You should wear a Facemask
when you are around other people (like sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Q: What patients are being prioritized for testing?
A: COVID-19 testing will focus on high-risk patients. These are symptomatic patients who also have one of the following criteria:
- Patients 61 & older
- Patients under 36 months
- On immunosuppressive therapy
- End-stage renal disease and are on dialysis
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart failure reduced ejection fraction
- Lung disease
- Contact with a known COVID-19 patient
- Solid organ transplants
Q: Who is screening patients?
We are following CDC recommendations on screening for Travel
from high-risk countries. As part of the intake process, travel questions have been added to outpatient visits. Travel screenings are part of the standard process for inpatients.
Screening is occurring in the following ways:
- Travel screening is now performed at check-in, registration and during scheduling.
- It has also been added to the outpatient rooming and inpatient admissions workflows.
- Clinicians in Emergency Departments, labor and delivery and surgical areas will continue to complete travel screenings as a part of their standard workflows.
- These questions are also asked at check-in kiosks and through MyChart’s pre-check-in feature.
- In our intensive care units for patients with severe lower respiratory infections.
For the latest information on travel information, alerts and warnings, please visit the CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel website.
Q: Should I travel internationally?
A: CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. A list of destinations with travel notices is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html