Frequently Asked Questions about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As the world continues to deal with the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we know that you have a lot of questions about what it means for you and our community. At Natividad, our highest priority is the safety of our patients, staff and our community. We are following all protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and we will continue to provide information, and update our guidelines and processes’ in response to this evolving crisis.
- How can I protect myself from getting COVID 19?
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to 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 your hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Should I wear a mask to keep from being infected?
- If I have COVID 19 virus, what can I do to keep from infecting others?
- No longer having a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- No longer having symptoms, including a cough.
- If I’m sick and I’m not sure if I have COVID-19, should I go see a doctor?
- Can someone who has been quarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others?
- Is there a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19?
The CDC recommends these general practices to help prevent spreading viruses:
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should wear a mask only if a health care professional recommends it.
According to the CDC, a face mask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of being infected. The use of face masks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (such as at home or in a health care facility).
The CDC recommends that people who are actively sick with COVID-19 avoid all contact with other people. That means separating yourself from others in your home, or, if you’re sick enough, being isolated in a hospital.
You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
Also, though the CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear masks to protect themselves, you should wear a mask if you’re sick to protect others or if you are taking care of a person who is infected with COVID-19 in close settings.
You should remain isolated until there is no longer a chance you can infect others. The length of time you may be considered actively sick can vary by case, so a decision about leaving isolation should be made in consultation with doctors and other health or public officials.
People who are mildly ill and think they might have COVID-19 can isolate themselves from others at home during their illness. If you feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, contact your primary care provider, who will assess your symptoms and exposure to determine if a COVID-19 test is appropriate.
Being quarantined means being separated from people who have been exposed to COVID-19 but who have not had symptoms for the length of the incubation period of the disease. For COVID-19 that period is 14 days from the last date of exposure. Someone who has been released from quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading, according to the CDC. However this does not mean that they can not be exposed to the virus in different ways (ie shopping, etc)
Not yet. Currently there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, there are vaccines and drugs currently under investigation. The National Institutes of Health has estimated that a large clinical trial for a vaccine may be available in 12-15 months.
People with COVID-19 should receive care to relieve symptoms. Those with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover through supportive care.
- What is a coronavirus?
- What is COVID-19?
- What is the source of the virus now affecting people?
- How does the virus spread?
- From close contact with people who have it.
- From respiratory droplets that become airborne when someone, who is infected, sneezes or coughs nearby.
- From touching our mouths, noses or eyes after touching a surface that has the virus on it.
- Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
- Where can I find more information about COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are members of the coronavirus family of viruses — one of the many families that include viruses able to infect people and animals. Seven members of the coronavirus family can make people ill, one of which is the new coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Certain coronaviruses infect animals, though we do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. In humans, coronaviruses are a cause of the common cold as well as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which can be fatal.
COVID-19 refers to the human infection caused by the new coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2. While symptoms of many human coronavirus infections are mild, COVID-19 infection symptoms can be serious, leading to pneumonia and in some cases death. COVID-19 is caused by a new virus strain that is believed to have originated around the city of Wuhan, China, and began spreading among people in late 2019.
It is rare for an animal coronavirus to spread from animals to people, and from people to each other. However, this was the case with both SARS and MERS, and scientists suspect this is what is happening with COVID-19.
Officials are still learning about how COVID-19 spreads, but the CDC believes it spreads between people in three ways:
Researchers are still learning about how easily COVID-19 is transmitted, how severely it will impact communities, and whether seasonal weather changes impact its spread. Some viruses, such as the common cold and flu, spread more during cold months, but it’s unclear whether COVID-19 will behave in the same way.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website is continually updated with information about COVID-19 and includes tips and information about many aspects, including how it spreads, how to stay healthy, whether you should or can travel, and more. Visit the site at this link or copy and paste this URL in your browser: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
- What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- What should I do if I have symptoms?
- Can I get tested for the virus at my doctor’s office or at the hospital?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness with sore throat, cough, fever and, for more severe cases, difficulty breathing. Read more about COVID-19 symptoms.
If you feel sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, contact your primary care provider, who will assess your symptoms and exposure to determine if a COVID-19 test is appropriate.
If you are having a medical emergency, please seek emergency care.
Testing for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is only appropriate for people who meet certain criteria. Criteria include both symptoms and assessment of risk factors, like known exposure to a person with COVID-19, travel, and consideration of chronic medical conditions. If you are not having any symptoms, then you would not be tested at this time
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