Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold.
Some coronaviruses have caused more severe illness, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus (responsible for COVID-19) that was not identified in humans before December 2019.
What are common symptoms of COVID-19 illness?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It takes 2 to 14 days after a person gets the virus in their body to become ill. Novel coronavirus is new, and we are learning more each day about symptoms it causes and how long it takes for people to become sick.
How does the virus spread?
Most often, it is spread from person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu 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. Often, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest) but there is some indication of spread by individuals who are not exhibiting typical symptoms.
Who should seek medical evaluation for COVID-19?
Staff, and subcontracted individuals who are:
- Ill with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have traveled from an affected area in the last 14 days
- Ill with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have been identified by Public Health as a recent close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone who is being evaluated for COVID-19 infection.
General COVID-19 Information