COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ (from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.  The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

How is the virus transmitted?

Much is unknown about how COVID-19, a new coronavirus, spreads. Current knowledge is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERSSARS, and now with COVID-19.

Most often, spread from person-to-person happens among close contacts (about 6 feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). With COVID-19, however, there have been reports of spread from an infected patient with no symptoms to a close contact.

It’s important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing. This information will further inform the risk assessment. Read the latest 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China situation summary.

What are the symptoms of Novel Coronavirus?

For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

Can I get Novel Coronavirus from someone who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms?

Some initial data suggest that, like many viruses, person infected with this Novel Coronavirus may be able to transmit the infection even before they exhibit symptoms themselves.  This is one of the thought processes around quarantine.  If you have been infected, you may enter a period where you can transmit to others but not feel sick—yet.  Through quarantine, we may be able to prevent this type of unrecognized transmission opportunity.

How can I protect myself?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Is there any treatment available?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on patients under investigation.

What do I do if I am sick?

If you are sick with COVID-19 follow the steps below to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading to people in your home and community. Stay home except to get medical care You should not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people in your home As much as possible, you should stay in a different room from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor Before your medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected.

Wear a facemask You should wear a facemask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room with you.

Cover your coughs and sneezes Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Wash your hands Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing household items You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water.

Monitor your symptoms Get medical care quickly if your illness is getting worse (for example if you are having trouble breathing). Call the healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected.

What is the CDC doing to protect people in the US?

 

What does the CDC’s Travel Notice Level 3 Warning mean to the US Traveler?

The CDC travel alerts are designed to warn travelers of health-associated risks when traveling internationally. The Level 3 Warning is the highest alert level and encourages US citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to the warning area or country.

On January 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first issued updated travel guidance for China, recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to all of the country (Level 3 Travel Health Notice). This warning is in response to an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading between people in many parts of that country.

Chinese health officials have reported thousands of COVID-19 cases in China, as well as severe illness including deaths. Sustained person-to-person community spread with this virus is reportedly occurring in China.

Travel-associated cases of COVID-19 infection also have been identified in other locations, including the United States. In other parts of Asia, some limited person-to-person spread has been detected among close contacts of travelers returning from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, however, community spread with this virus has not been reported in locations outside China.

While some person-to-person spread with this virus has been detected in the United States, the goal of the ongoing U.S. public health response is to contain this outbreak and prevent sustained spread in this country.

Based on current information, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general American public is considered low at this time. However, risk is dependent on exposure and some people will have greater risk of infection, for example, healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients and other close contacts. CDC is aggressively responding to this serious public health situation to help protect the health of Americans. This response may cause disruptions in some people’s daily lives. This is unfortunate, but necessary to protect the health of Americans.

This is the University’s Travel Policy.