COVID-19 Facts

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COVID-19 Q&A

SOURCES: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and LA County Department of Public Health

 

What should everyone know?

  • Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

  • Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a Coronavirus?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

How can you help stop the spread of this deadly virus?

What do you do if you are sick?

How do you self-isolate in a home with multiple people?

When should you seek medical attention?

What are the types of COVID-19 tests?

What do the test results mean?

When is it safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19?

 

What is a Coronavirus?

 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold.

 

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. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have the symptoms listed below, you might have COVID-19:

 

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

 

How can you help stop the spread of this deadly virus?

 

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone should:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.

  • CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

  • Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others

What do you do if you are sick?

 

If you have a fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, dial 2-1-1 on your phone to find free health resources or visit our Resources page to find the 211 online resource in your area.

 

If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get emergency medical care immediately.

 

If you have mild symptoms:

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.

  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.

  • Stay in touch with your healthcare provider. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.

  • Separate yourself from other people and pets. If possible, stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom. When you are around other people or pets, wear a cloth face covering.

  • Keep track of your symptoms and follow care instructions from your healthcare provider.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of used tissues in a lined trash can.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Avoid sharing personal household items, such as dishes, towels, or bedding.

  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day with household cleaners and disinfectants. Wear a mask and disposable gloves.

 

How do you self-isolate in a home with multiple people?

 

Follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to others in your home and your community.

Separate yourself from others in your home.

  • If you need to be in the same room as other people, set it up so that you can stay 6 feet apart if possible. It is important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness.

  • Use a separate bathroom. If this is not possible, disinfect the bathroom after use (see cleaning information below).

  • Open windows or use a fan or an air conditioner in shared spaces in the home.

  • Do not allow non-essential visitors.

  • Do not handle pets or other animals.

  • Anyone who continues to be in close contact with you will need to stay in quarantine for longer.


Wear a facemask or cloth face cover when you are around others

  • Wear a disposable facemask when you are around other people. If you do not have a facemask, wear a cloth face cover. Do not use either if you have trouble breathing, or are unable to remove it without help, or you have been told not to wear one by a medical provider.

  • If you are not able to wear a facemask or face cover, then people who live with you should avoid being in the same room with you. If they must enter the room you are in, they should wear a facemask (or if they don’t have one, a cloth face covering). After leaving the room, they should immediately clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again.

  • Use masks and face coverings with caution with children. Infants and children under 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. Those between the ages of 2 and 8 should use them under adult supervision to ensure that the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation.


Cover your coughs and sneezes.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trashcan after each use. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after you cough or sneeze.

 

Avoid sharing food or personal household items.

  • Do not prepare or serve food to others.

  • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

  • Make sure to wash your dishes, drinking glasses, and eating utensils with soap and water after each use. Clean your hands often.

  • Wash your hands often, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; before eating or preparing food; and after touching your face mask or cover. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub hands together for 30 seconds until they feel dry. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

 

Clean and disinfect all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets,phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have body fluids on them.

  • Use household cleaning and disinfectant sprays or wipes. Be sure to follow the product label instructions.

  • If caregivers and household contacts clean or come into contact with your body fluids or secretions (such as sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea), they should wear a disposable facemask and gloves. After cleaning, they should remove and dispose of their gloves first, clean their hands, then remove and dispose of their facemask, and clean their hands again.

 

When should you seek medical attention?

 

Look for these  emergency warning signs * for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

 

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Bluish lips or face

 

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

 

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your healthcare provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. If you do not have a healthcare provider, dial 2-1-1 on your phone to find free health resources or visit our Resources page to find the 211 online resource in your area.

What are the types of COVID-19 tests?

 

Two types of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody (serology) tests.

 

  • A viral test tells you if you have a current infection.

  • An antibody test might tell you if you had a past infection. An antibody test might not show if you have a current infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. Having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 might provide protection from getting infected with the virus again. If it does, we do not know how much protection the antibodies might provide or how long this protection might last.

 

What do the test results mean?

 

Test results can be confusing. Download the Guidance on Interpreting COVID-19 Test Results [PDF] for understanding test results and determining what actions to take.

Whether you test positive or negative for COVID-19 on a viral or an antibody test, you still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others.

 

When is it safe to be around others after being sick with COVID-19?

 

Deciding when it is safe to be around others is different for different situations. Find out when you can safely end home isolation.

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© 2020 Southern California Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team