COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Prepare yourself with the facts about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and help stop the spread.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Coronaviruses affect the respiratory system, including the lungs and airways. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever, and shortness of breath. Severe infections can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death. It can take from two days to 14 days for an infected person to show symptoms (after exposure) but an infected person can spread the virus even before they show symptoms.
Who is at Higher Risk:

Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness because:
  • As people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their body to fight off diseases and infection.
  • Many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.
If you are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications due to age or because you have a severe underlying medical condition, it is especially important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure.
What you can do to keep yourself and others healthy:
  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.Avoid contact with people who are sick. 
  4. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. If you have a tissue, cover your cough or sneeze with it, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes. 

For Healthcare Providers:
Any doctors whose patients show symptoms of the coronavirus should contact their local health departments, who will work with the state department of health, to get the patient tested. Testing is open to anyone suspected by a doctor of having the virus, not only those who've traveled to China or come in contact with someone who has.

For Individuals: 
If you think you may be sick with the infection, contact your health care provider or local emergency health care facility. If you meet certain criteria for travel and symptoms, you may need to be assessed more thoroughly. Call before going to an office, hospital or clinic, if possible. You may be asked to wear a mask at the facility.

For the most up-to-date information:


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