What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause sicknesses ranging from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel or new coronavirus (COVID-19) was first detected in China and has since spread to a growing number of countries around the world, including the United States.
Why is COVID-19 concerning?
Health officials worldwide are concerned about the spread of the new coronavirus because it is a brand new virus to which humans have no immunity. Little is known about its transmission, and there is no treatment or vaccine for this particular coronavirus. Since COVID-19 is a new disease, there is more to learn about its transmission and severity. New information will inform strategies for dealing with the virus.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In some cases, infection can cause more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
What can you do?
Because there is currently no vaccine for the disease, health agencies are advising prevention measures. Therefore, we urge residents to take the following steps to protect you and your family from getting sick or spreading illness to others:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
- 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 with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and contact your healthcare provider for a plan of care if you become ill.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave!
- Maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others when in public.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Read more about this recommendation here.