For the latest information on COVID-19 (coronavirus), please refer to trustworthy health and government websites such as:
Other Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 2019 Coronavirus or COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a type of virus that commonly affect animals. A newly identified coronavirus has begun to infect humans and is called COVID-19. This new virus started in China in December 2019. Since it is not common in humans, we do not have natural defenses against it and we are not sure how the human body will respond to a coronavirus COVID-19 infection. The symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, which can lead to pneumonia and, in rare cases, death. Eighty percent of infections are mild but twenty percent are more severe and may require a hospital stay.
How do I get coronavirus?
Similar to colds and the flu, we get coronavirus when we are around someone that has been infected by it and they cough or sneeze around us. This illness can go into our eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick. We can also get the virus from touching surfaces that have been contaminated with coronavirus and then touching our face.
How do I prevent myself or others from getting coronavirus?
The best way to prevent infection is to stay away from people who are sick, sneezing or coughing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises people to follow these tips to help prevent the coronavirus, colds, and flu.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick with cold/flu symptoms.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cough or sneeze in your elbow or into a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash hands again.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Avoid unnecessary travel, public gatherings, or any meeting with large groups of people.
What if I recently traveled to another country and I am now sick with fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
If you developed symptoms within 14 days of being in places in the US or another country (Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East) where there is a coronavirus outbreak, you should immediately call your local health department or the patient service center at (888) 499-9303. They will work with a health care provider to assess your symptoms. If you seek medical attention, it is extremely important that you call before you go and describe your symptoms and travel history.
What does social distancing mean?
This means reducing risk of exposure by keeping distance between people. Avoid events and places where there are 250 or more people, such as conferences and concerts, farmer markets, and sporting events. Avoid gatherings that do not allow you to keep a distance of 6 feet from others. Avoid unnecessary contact, such as shaking hands. If you need to go to the supermarket, work, or school, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching any object or surface that others may have touched.
What is close contact to a coronavirus patient?
Close contact is being in the same room with someone with the illness, six feet or closer, for a prolonged period of time (two minutes or longer) without wearing protective gear such as a facemask, gown, or gloves.