Coronavirus

What is a coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. There are several types of coronaviruses including those that cause symptoms of the common cold. Human coronaviruses commonly cause mild to moderate illness. A novel, or new coronavirus is a strain of coronavirus that has not been identified before. This has happened previously with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV both of which cause more severe respiratory illnesses.

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is still being studied and public health officials are learning more each day. To date, it appears that transmission occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes as is the case with other respiratory illnesses like the common cold or influenza. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. People with COVID-19 often present with cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or some combination of fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.

How can I help protect myself and my family?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The same preventative measures that are recommended during cold and flu season will also help to protect against COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue (or your elbow)
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

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