What is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
How does coronavirus spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Does coronavirus spread through contact with surfaces?
According to the NIH, it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. NIH scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggest that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects.
What are the symptoms?
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: Fever, cough, shortness of breath
If you develop the following emergency warning signs, get medical attention immediately: difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face
What should I do if I think I’m sick?
If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call a medical professional (see our FREE medical clinic options below). Many state and local health departments have set up hotlines to answer questions (Alachua County Health Department has a COVID-19 hotline created to address community questions and concerns. Call at 352-334-8810. It’s important that you don’t expose others. Call the medical facility of choice before you go in so they can take necessary precautions.
What is social distancing? How do I self-quarantine?
According to medical experts, social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19. Examples include working from home if possible, closing schools, visiting loved ones electronically instead of in-person, and canceling or postponing conferences or large meetings. Self-quarantine involves using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently, not sharing things like towels and utensils, staying at home, not having visitors, and staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household.