Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions ANSWERED!

The following is adapted from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Website.  For more detailed information, please visit the site at this web address:

Who is at risk for exposure to COVID-19?

  • People who have had prolonged and close contact with a patient who has been confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • People who have travelled in the last 14 days to countries with high rates of transmission, including China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

How does COVID-19 spread? 

The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person

  • Between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet)
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes

When are people with COVID-19 the most contagious?

  • People infected with the virus are most contagious when they are the sickest
  • Symptoms may take up to 2-14 days to appear after exposure

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Who is at risk for severe disease from COVID-19?

  • To date, the majority of severe disease and deaths have occurred in elderly people and in people with underlying medical disease, especially that which compromises the immune system.
  • Infection in children appears to be uncommon and generally mild.  
  • There have been no deaths from COVID-19 reported in children.

How can COVID-19 infection be prevented?

  • Follow the CDC advice on avoiding travel to countries with high rates of transmission, including China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

Should I wear a mask to prevent COVID-19 infection?

  • No – facemasks do not protect a person who does not have the virus from getting the virus.  Some evidence suggests that people who wear facemasks are more likely to touch their faces more frequently which could increase the risk of infection with COVID-19.
  • Healthcare workers and first responders who are likely to be in contact with people infected with COVID-19 should wear N-95 respirators which are not available to the public.
  • People who are infected with the virus should wear facemasks to limit the spread of respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze.

Who should be considered for testing for COVID-19?

At this time, the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Fever or respiratory symptoms in a person who has had direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Fever AND respiratory symptoms in a person who has travelled to a country of high risk in the past 14 days, including China, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy
  • Severe respiratory infection requiring hospitalization with no alternate cause identified

What should I do if I meet the above criteria for testing?

  • Call your physician if you meet the criteria above.   Note that fever AND respiratory symptoms are required for testing.   Your physician can give you further instructions on how to proceed.
  • Note that test kits are not currently widely available so you will NOT be tested in your physician’s office or at a local emergency room.  All healthcare providers will work with their state’s public health department to arrange testing if appropriate.

What should I do if I have a fever but do not meet the above criteria for testing?

  • Stay home if you do not need medical care.
  • If you are sick enough to require medical care, call your physician’s office to schedule an appointment.
  • Proceed to the emergency department ONLY IF YOU ARE SICK ENOUGH TO REQUIRE EMERGENCY CARE.

Stay tuned to our social media pages (and this website) as we expect the situation and recommendations to change frequently.