The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an ever-changing situation and this unfortunately leaves room for misconception and confusion about the disease itself. Out of an abundance of concern for our community’s health and safety, we have compiled some information on the virus, symptoms, and ways you and those around you can remain healthy.
What is the Coronavirus?
According to Intermountain Healthcare, the coronavirus or COVID-19 is a “large family of viruses” that causes respiratory illness in humans. Other forms of coronavirus have been identified as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which are more severe forms of the disease. The novel, or new, coronavirus that has now spread globally typically has more mild symptoms similar to that of a common cold.
How does it spread?
COVID-19 has been discovered to spread from person-to-person usually within 6 feet of contact. It has also been thought to spread by touching infected objects such as door handles and other surfaces, but this is not the main way the virus can spread.
What are the symptoms?
Those who have been infected by COVID-19 will experience mild respiratory symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
The virus can have a more severe impact on those who are age 60 or older, immunocompromised, or may have underlying health issues. These are groups that are considered to be most at risk. Those who contact the disease may not show any symptoms at all. It is still important to remain social distant to stop the spread of the disease.
How can I protect myself and others from the virus?
To avoid the rapid spread of COVID-19 you should:
- Avoid close contact with those that are sick
- Stay home if at all possible. Many community leaders have issued some form of a shelter in place order. Travel outside of the home should be limited to essential activities such as going to the grocery store, pharmacy, or traveling to an essential job.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched heavily
- Wash your hands with soap frequently for at least 20 seconds
What should I do if I believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19?
Those who believe they may have been exposed should immediately self-quarantine. Call ahead to your primary care doctor before scheduling an appointment to explain your symptoms. You may also be able to complete your doctor’s appointment via video or phone call to limit exposure. If you are asked to come in for an in person appointment, please wear a mask and gloves. There is currently not a treatment for COVID-19 and those who have been affected should seek medical attention to help relieve symptoms.
We are in unprecedented circumstances and information about the coronavirus is rapidly changing. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of coronavirus and there is not a specific treatment for those who have been affected. For the most accurate and up to date information, please visit the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) website.