Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. Common symptoms include fever, cough, chills, repeated shaking with chills, loss of smell or taste, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and shortness of breath.
How does coronavirus spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, primarily through 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. It is mostly likely spread when people are in close contact with one another (within about six feet).
COVID-19 seems to be spreading quickly in our communities affecting many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
How can I protect myself?
The best way to avoid getting or spreading a virus is to Do the Five and follow the below precautions:
- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
- Maintain social distancing: We recommend you stay about six feet apart from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent any type of virus from entering your body.
- Practice respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose with bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of waste immediately.
- Stay in isolation if you are sick to limit your exposure to others.
Who is at a higher risk of coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a new virus, and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions including asthma, serious heart conditions and the immunocompromised.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Learn more about COVID-19 Symptoms.
Should I be tested for coronavirus?
Those considering testing should follow the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health:
If you are over the age 60 or above, are pregnant, or have medical conditions (like cancer, immunosuppression, heart, lung, or kidney disease, or diabetes) you may be at higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Call your doctor if you are concerned about a medical condition and ask if you need to be evaluated in person. They may want monitor your health more closely or test you for influenza and COVID-19.
If you do not have a high-risk condition and your symptoms are mild, it is very likely you do not need to be evaluated in person and do not need to be tested for COVID-19. There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and others in your community is to stay home while you have mild symptoms.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.
How many cases have been reported?
The number of reported cases is constantly evolving. Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health for the latest information.
Where can I learn more about coronavirus?
Visit ACCESS’ resource page for a list of credible news sources and helpful resources to food, housing, and more.
Source: Coronavirus Disease 2019, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention