Frequently Asked Questions

Defining COVID-19

Symptoms, which generally appear two to 14 days after exposure, include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Most people who become sick do not require hospitalization, but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to require more advanced care.

There is much to learn about the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Based on what is currently known about the novel coronavirus, spread from person-to-person with these viruses happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. People who recently traveled to affected geographic areas, people in close contact with people who have COVID-19, people who care for patients with COVID-19, and people in areas that have experienced community spread, including communities in Ohio, are at elevated risk.

Most people who become sick do not require hospitalization, but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, and people with compromised immune systems are more likely to require more advanced care.

There are no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. Implement the personal prevention protection methods used to prevent flu and other infectious diseases, including:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces

Clean and disinfect “High-Touch” surfaces often– counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, nightstands – every day using household cleaning spray or wipes according to label directions.

Call before visiting your doctor

Practice good hygiene habits

Transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

At-Risk Populations

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
 Heart disease
 Diabetes
 Lung disease

Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.

During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Have supplies on hand:

  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms.
  • Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
 Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

Take everyday precautions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean your hands often
.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
 If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc.
  • Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
.
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
  • Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks

For more information, there is a very comprehensive information on CDC’s website, including information on a plan for if you get sick, watching for symptoms and emergency warning signs, what to do if you get sick, and how others can support you. Click Here

There is still a lot to learn about this illness, and while it is not scientifically proven, reports suggest that you can get COVID-19 more than once. (https://www.forbes.com/)

According to Harvard University, While we don’t know the answer yet, most people would likely develop at least short-term immunity to the specific coronavirus that causes COVID-19. However, you would still be susceptible to a different coronavirus infection. Or, this particular virus could mutate, just like the influenza virus does each year. Often these mutations change the virus enough to make you susceptible, because your immune system thinks it is an infection that it has never seen before. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/)

Yes, it is possible to have both the flu and COVID-19

The CDC recommends that everyone wear face masks to protect against COVID-19.  Face masks should definitely be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent spread of the disease and by health care workers and others taking care of someone in a close setting.

At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation, so at this time, People with COVID-19 should be advised to tell their public health point of contact that they have pets or other animals in their home; and we will notify our State Public Health Veterinarian, who will then consult with CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/)

On average, about 1 in 1,000 people who get flu die from it — mostly the elderly and people with underlying health conditions, but flu sometimes kills healthy young people and pregnant women. We don’t know the precise case fatality ratio for COVID-19 because of incomplete testing of possible cases and insufficient information about outbreaks. But so far, COVID-19 appears much deadlier than seasonal flu, and quite possibly deadlier than the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, each of which killed more than 1 million people around the world. Those pandemics had estimated case fatality ratios far below 1% — and COVID-19 may kill more than 1 in 100 people who get sick with it. This is not as high as the 1918 flu pandemic, which has been estimated to have killed 2.5 of 100 who it made sick, killing an estimated 675,000 Americans at a time when our population was one-third what it is today. As with the flu, older people and those with serious health conditions such as heart or lung disease, cancer or diabetes are at much higher risk.

If someone believes they have coronavirus symptoms, they should contact their healthcare provider. They will need an order from a healthcare provider to get tested.

A COVID-19 test is performed with a nasopharyngeal swab, which is a narrow stick made of a short plastic rod covered at one tip, with adsorbing material as cotton, polyester, or flocked nylon. The rod is inserted into the nose to obtain a sample from the back of the nose and throat. Some agencies are reporting results back in as little as eight hours; however, the average test results may be received anywhere from 48 hours to five days.

If the individual has mild symptoms that do not warrant a hospital stay, they will be quarantined at home for 14 days. Our epidemiologist will also follow up with contacts of the individual and will ask a series of questions to determine if they must also be quarantined in-home for 14 days. Those experiencing serious symptoms would be cared for in a hospital.

Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms are being instructed to call their healthcare providers first so they may take precautions before the individual arrives. They are separated in a well-ventilated space from individuals who are not experiencing respiratory symptoms so they are not waiting among other patients seeking care. Some healthcare facilities are using their telephone systems to deliver messages to incoming callers about when to seek medical care at their facility, when to seek emergency care, and where to go for information about caring for a person with COVID at home. Others are adjusting their hours of operation to include telephone triage and follow-up of patients. Some are leveraging telemedicine technologies and self-assessment tools.

Patients must still have a doctor’s order to utilize a drive-through COVID-29 test site. Patients remain in their car for the nasopharyngeal swab.

Although there is talk that the testing will be free, each individual should confirm the cost, if any, of the COVID-19 test.

There is a concern nationwide amongst the hospital systems about a shortage of medical supplies. This is one of the reasons why our Governor and Ohio Department of Health have taken such aggressive measures against this illness. The plan reduce the number of cases so that critical healthcare supplies and medications are available for the sickest individuals.

  • Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 Cases. (health department website, coronavirus.ohio.gov, and CDC.gov)
  • Know the signs and symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and what to do if symptomatic:
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit
    • Limit movement in the community
    • Limit visitors
  • Know what additional measures those at higher risk and who are vulnerable (older adults, those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) should take
    • Have some extra supplies at home, and consider ways to have food and other needed items delivered to your home
    • Be cautious to keep space between yourself and others
    • Stay home as much as possible, and if you must go out, avoid crowds
    • Keep away from those who are sick, avoid close contact as much as possible, and wash your hands often
  • Follow steps to prevent yourself and your family
    • Stay home sick
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if you are unable to wash your hands.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces daily
  • Create a household plan
    • Consider a 2-week supply of prescription and OTC medication, food, and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
    • Establish ways to communicate with others like friends, family, and coworkers
    • Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, and how to adapt to cancellation of events
  • Stay informed about emergency plans for schools and workplaces of those in your home

https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/

[Note – blood needs are not specific to COVID-19 patients, but help continue meet all other needs during this time of crisis.]

As COVID-19 cases continue to grow, the Red Cross is anticipating shortages to the blood supply due to canceled blood drives and an increasing number of illnesses. The Red Cross is urging all eligible, healthy donors to give blood, platelets, or AB Elite plasma now to help maintain a sufficient blood product supply and avoid any potential shortages. Appointments can be made at www.redcross.org . The Red Cross also urges organizations to maintain scheduled blood drives. Donating is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give blood or platelets.

  • Offer to assist those who have to stay home with getting the things they need or things to help keep them occupied. If you deliver items to them, leave them at the door to minimize contact.
  • Phone calls, text messages, email, and video chatting can help those who are in quarantine and isolation feel less anxious and more connected to people and help communicate needs that they have.

It is vitally important that we all do our part to protect the people in our communities that are most vulnerable. While you may contract this virus and only have mild symptoms or not even realize you have it, you may also infect someone who will have very severe illness or could die from it. We can all do our part by limiting our time out in public, and we can offer to assist those who can’t risk going out to get what they need. We can all wash our hands and stay home if we’re sick. We are all in this together.

It is important that people understand that closings and cancellations are done for a very serious reason. It is not only to prevent you from getting sick, but to prevent a large number of people from getting sick all at the same time. This could tax our healthcare system beyond its limits and have very serious consequences. Everything we can do to slow things down helps all of us.

People do not need to panic and hoard supplies. It is important that everyone has access to what they need in order to keep us all health

Do You Have a Question About COVID-19?

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