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COVID-19 FAQs

Posted by Lake Health on Mar 19, 2020 3:37:18 PM

Browse these frequently asked questions to gain a better understanding of COVID-19 and learn what to do if you suspect you may have COVID-19. 

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What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, is a new disease caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus not previously seen in humans. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Where did COVID-19 originate?

It was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.

What countries are currently caring for COVID-19 patients?

COVID-19 is spreading worldwide. Areas with widespread cases include China, South Korea, Iran, Japan and Europe. There have been cases of COVID-19 in the United States, including here in Lake County and the state of Ohio. View the current US case count of COVID-19.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Learn more about the symptoms.

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

How does it spread from person to person?

The virus mainly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. View more information about how COVID-19 spreads.

Can an infected person spread the virus before they develop symptoms?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How do I know if I have COVID-19?

The virus can be confirmed only with laboratory testing. Unless it’s a medical emergency, it’s important to stay home if you feel sick to reduce the spread of illness. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call your health care provider first or seek virtual care through Lake Health Online Quick Care. Through Online Quick Care, we've created a FREE screening questionnaire based on CDC guidelines to help you determine the most appropriate level of care for you.

Your doctor’s office can also give instructions on how to get the care you need and determine if you meet the CDC guidelines for testing based on your symptoms, travel and exposure. If you do meet the criteria, you’ll be advised on how to proceed with testing.

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and travel history.

How can I best protect myself?

There are several ways to protect yourself and those around you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash with soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant that kills viruses.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you're sick.

       Learn more about prevention.

Who is most at risk?

It is important to keep in mind that the majority of COVID-19 patients will be able to recover at home. Only a small percentage of patients, such as older adults, people with chronic health conditions and those with compromised immune systems, will require hospitalization.

What should I do if I suspect I have been exposed to COVID-19?

Unless it’s a medical emergency, it’s important to stay home if you feel sick to reduce the spread of illness. If you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider first or seek virtual care through Lake Health Online Quick Care. Through Online Quick Care, we've created a FREE screening questionnaire based on CDC guidelines to help you determine the most appropriate level of care for you.

Your doctor’s office can also give instructions on how to get the care you need and determine if you meet the CDC guidelines for testing based on your symptoms, travel and exposure. If you do meet the criteria, you’ll be advised on how to proceed with testing.

If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and travel history.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Should I wear a face mask to prevent COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it. A face mask should only be used by people who have a respiratory illness and are showing symptoms.

How has Lake Health prepared for COVID-19?

Lake Health, local health departments, the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are closely monitoring COVID-19 in our region and have detailed preparedness plans in place that are updated frequently as new developments occur. Patients are being screened at all points of entry into the Lake Health system for certain criteria as defined by the CDC. Patients who meet the CDC guidelines will be referred for testing as appropriate.

I have a trip planned, should I cancel it?

The CDC provides recommendations for canceling or postponing your travel based on potential health risks, such as the risk of getting COVID-19. See if your destination is on this list. In general, travelers can take routine precautions to help reduce their risk of getting sick, including:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
What should I do if I recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19?

If you have recently traveled to an area heavily affected by COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider or seek virtual care through Lake Health Online Quick Care. Through Online Quick Care, we've created a FREE screening questionnaire based on CDC guidelines to help you determine the most appropriate level of care for you. Both options can help give instructions on how to get the care you need and determine if you meet the CDC guidelines for testing based on your symptoms, travel and exposure. If you do meet the criteria, you’ll be advised on how to proceed with testing. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and travel history.

Where can I receive the most up-to-date information about COVID-19?

As the coronavirus situation evolves daily, the most up-to-date information can be found on the following websites:

For general questions, the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 8 pm and can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634). Call center staff includes licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. They will answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public and the state’s response.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the CDC website here.

Sources: The Ohio Department of Health, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Updated: 3/19/20

Topics: COVID-19