Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common throughout the world that can cause respiratory illness in people and animals. Several known coronaviruses that infect people usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is a specific coronavirus new to humans and we don’t yet have a vaccine.
How does COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) spread?
At this time, there are two ways COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is thought to spread:
- Person-to-person: Between people in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), for significant periods of time, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Contact with infected surfaces or objects: A person can conceivably get COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How is it treated?
At this time, no vaccine protects against COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and no medications are approved to treat it. Supportive care is the most important response strategy.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, with severity ranging from mild to severe illness. In other coronaviruses, common signs of infection include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, and a general feeling of being unwell. Currently, if you haven’t traveled to an infected region where there is community spread or been in close contact with someone known to have the virus, your risk is very low.
How do you know the difference between the flu and COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are difficult to distinguish from those of the flu. Symptoms and criteria like travel to an area of spread or close contact with a confirmed patient are required before testing for COVID-19. Please contact Jordan Landing Clinic (801.280.2774) for initial screening.
What’s the current risk assessment for the American public?
The CDC has developed these guidelines to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposure COVID-19 (novel coronavirus):
- For the general American public in areas where there are no reports of community spread, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is considered low.
- People in communities where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) has been reported are at an elevated, though still relatively low, risk of exposure.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are at elevated risk of exposure if they’re not wearing correct personal protective equipment.
- People in close contact with persons with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.
Most COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) infections are mild. Who is at higher risk of becoming very ill or dying?
People with underlying lung disease (asthma, chronic lung disease), weakened immune systems, and the elderly are at risk of having more complex complications if they were to contract COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
How often are we testing for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
We’re testing individuals when they meet the CDC case definition for a Person Under Investigation. Once a positive result is found, the individual will be tested again and will need two negative results in a row to be considered cleared. Those tests will be done at an interval determined by the course of the individual’s signs and symptoms.
What is the incubation period?
The incubation period for the virus is one to 14 days, with the most common timeframe being five days. This is still a new disease and this timeframe could change as more information becomes available.
How do you know if someone is cleared of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
Two negative tests performed 24 hours apart are required to be cleared.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they’re most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before someone shows symptoms. There have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but it’s not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.