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What is COVID-19

COVID-19 is caused by a virus called Coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a common cause of the common cold.  COVID-19 is a novel (newly discovered) Coronavirus that is currently causing illness across the world. Most of those infected will have a limited and mild case.  It will feel more like a cold.  Most people who become infected with COVID-19 will be able to care for themselves at home.  Currently there is no specific anti-viral treatment for COVID-19, and there is no vaccine at this time.  Antibiotics such as penicillin do not kill viruses.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Typical COVID-19 symptoms include fever, muscle aches, cough and shortness of breath that can last for two weeks or even longer.  20% of those infected with COVID-19 can have more serious symptoms such as high fever or breathing problems which need oxygen and hospital treatment.

Preventing Spread

COVID-19 is mostly spread through person-to-person close contact (within about 6 feet).   Small droplets from coughing and sneezing can enter the mouth and lungs of those nearby. It is also possible that infection can happen by touching a surface or object that has virus on it such as a table or door knob and then touching their own eyes, mouth or nose, but this is not the main cause of spread.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest) and especially with coughing. Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this, but this is not thought to be the main cause of spread.

COVID-19 appears to spread easily

  • Stay home when you are sick

  • Avoid people who are sick (6 feet rule)

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

  • CDC does not recommend facemask use for those people who are well

  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others

  • Use a facemask if you are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

  • Wash especially after using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty

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