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General Information for Coronavirus (COVID-19)


General Questions

Q:

What is Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

A:

2019-nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
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Q:

What is the risk?

A:

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

The risks per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website are as follows:

  • For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
  • Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on location.
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Q:

What factors increase the risk of COVID-19?

A:

Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

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Q:

Symptoms and transmission:

A:

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.

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Q:

Prevention

A:

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Currently, COVID-19 has not been found to be spreading in the US, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • 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.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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Last Modified: 3/17/20 2:46 PM