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About the COVID-19 Virus

About the COVID-19 Virus

 

What is novel coronavirus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), commonly known as a coronavirus, is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from a coronavirus to the general American public is considered low at this time. For additional information, visit the CDC website.

 

What are the symptoms?

Similar to the common cold and influenza, common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC believes that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or up to 14 days after exposure.

 

How is it spread?

Coronavirus disease 2019 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. Symptoms of COVID-19 generally appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization.

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching and shaking hands.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • In rare cases, contact with feces.

 

How do I prevent getting the coronavirus?

Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent COVID-19 infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends typical infectious disease precautions, just as those used to prevent cold or flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue.
  • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are ill (except to visit a healthcare professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The CDC does not recommend the routine use of face masks by the general public to prevent respiratory illness and is not recommending their use at this time for the prevention of COVID-19.

 

What should I do if I feel ill?

If you have traveled to, or through a CDC Level 3 Warning country, we recommend anyone who develops a fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, seek medical advice by calling your local health department. If you cannot reach your local health department, call ahead before going to the emergency room or doctor’s office to notify them in case of recent travel to countries or locations within the United States with elevated levels of COVID-19.

Click here for the press release regarding MTC’s response to the COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS DISEASE)

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