Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus

What is COVID-19?

The disease known as COVID-19 is a new disease that has not previously been seen in humans and was first identified in Wuhan, China. The name for the disease is an abbreviation: ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. ‘19’ is for 2019.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms have ranged from mild to severe. Call your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing. If you experience any emergency warning signs, such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or lethargy, and bluish lips or face, seek medical attention immediately.

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is highly contagious and easily spreads from person to person thru respiratory droplets produced when sneezing, coughing, or other respiratory secretions. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Who is most at risk?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, those most at risk include:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of any age with the following underlying medical conditions, particularly those that are not well controlled
  • Chronic lung disease or asthma
  • Congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Neurologic conditions that weaken ability to cough
  • Weakened immune system
  • Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer (currently or in recent past)
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Lack of spleen or a spleen that doesn’t function correctly
  • Extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40)
  • People who are pregnant

How can I best protect myself?

The answers are surprisingly simple:

  • practice social distancing - keep at least six feet away from other people and avoid contact with people who are sick. Avoid gathering with groups of people
  • wash your hands frequently - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • cover your nose and mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes table, dooknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • greet people with a wave, nod or bow instead of the traditional handshake
  • avoid traveling to a COVID-19 “hot spots.”

What is social-distancing?

Social distancing encourages physical space between other people. The CDC recommends keeping at least six feet away from other people. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. The symptoms of the virus take days to appear after exposure. This means that someone could be carrying the virus even though they have no symptoms.

If I am practicing social distancing, what activities can I partake in?

Social distancing does not prevent you from enjoying life. Reconnect with nature by taking walk, hike or bike ride; binge watch your favorite television show or catch up on the latest movies through cable or a streaming service; learn something new like knitting, cooking, sewing, woodworking, or photography; birdwatch; get a jump on your spring cleaning or finally do that home improvement project you’ve been contemplating; learn a new language with an online course; read a book; or exercise at home with on-demand programs.

Do I need to self-quarantine?

The CDC advises people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, as well as household members, intimate partners and caregivers in non-healthcare settings in contact with someone who was symptomatic and confirmed to have COVID-19 to self-quarantine. Your healthcare provider and public health staff will evaluate whether you can be cared for at home. If it is determined that you do not need to be hospitalized and can be isolated at home, you will be monitored by staff from your local or state health department.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19 stay home and call your healthcare provider. Beyond those immediate steps, stay as far away as possible from other people in your home; stay away from pets and animals; wear a mask if you are sick; cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often; avoid sharing items and wash “high-touch” surfaces often.

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Can it be treated?

At this time there is no specific treatment for this novel coronavirus. Antiviral medications used to treat other types of viruses are being used but their efficacy is not known at this time.

Is there a vaccine?

There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection.

Should I wear a mask?

The CDC recommends you cover both your nose and mouth with a cloth face cover when around others. You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not have symptoms. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.

Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

Why is there a temporary structure located under the Meehan Pavilion?

We have constructed a 3,800 square-foot structure to ensure we are prepared for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.

What if I have a medical emergency that is not related to COVID – 19 – Can I still get emergency treatment at the hospital?

Yes, absolutely! This is why, with the COVID-19 outbreak, we are taking measures to ensure that we will not only be able to meet the emergency medical needs of our patients, but that we are prepared to treat a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.

Information compiled from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Word Health Organization (WHO) and The Cleveland Clinic.

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