We know many of you have questions and concerns about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in your community, so we created this page to share facts and information.

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness, so it is important to be informed about how to protect yourself and others.

Information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. About one in every five people who contract it need hospital care. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 3-6 feet).
  • 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.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with COVID-19, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It is important to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face in public and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.


How severe is COVID-19? Should I worry?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. About one in every five people who contract it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.

Most coronavirus illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia. People over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk.


Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

Illness due to COVID-19 is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 infection do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia.

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60 years of age
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant

Testing and treatment

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you have upper respiratory symptoms – cough, fever or shortness of breath and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 – please call first before a clinic or urgent care visit to determine if you need to visit a specific site for testing.

Additionally, MultiCare is currently offering free e-visits to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms through our e-clinic, where our providers will also help you navigate to the next appropriate step, if testing for COVID-19 is warranted. Book an appointment through our site and get better solution from our Specialists to get rid of COVID-19.


Who is at high risk for complications from COVID-19?

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and in a high-risk group, call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant


What is the treatment for COVID-19?

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 3-6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing. (See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus).


What is a self-quarantine and why is it used?

Quarantine is put into place to prevent the possible spread of an infectious disease from someone who may have been exposed to the disease but is not yet sick. When people are quarantined, they are kept separate from others until they are out of the period when they could get sick. During that time, health officials track their health so that if they do develop symptoms, they can get them to a health care provider quickly for evaluation, testing if needed, and care.

When people are in self-quarantine, they have no symptoms, but because there is a possibility that they might have been exposed, they stay away from others in public settings. For 14 days from their last possible exposure, people in self-quarantine cannot go to work, school, or any public places where they could have close contact with others. Public health departments direct them in how to monitor their health so that should they develop symptoms, they can be quickly and safely isolated from all others, including those in their household.

How to help and protect yourself

How do I keep myself and my family safe?

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 3-6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
    Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your health care provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.


Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

You should only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or caring for someone who may have COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 3-6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing.


How do i talk to my kids about COVID-19?

Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties.

View the Helping Children Cope guide, which includes reactions according to age group and the best ways you can respond.

 

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