An Important Message about COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.  The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html.  The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person to person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some diseases are highly contagious (like measles), while other diseases are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of

• fever

• cough

• shortness of breath

There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to help keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should

  1.       Stay at home when you are sick with mild to moderate symptoms. However, if you're having shortness of breath or other severe symptoms, please call your doctor or 911
  2.       Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  3.       Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

If you think that you may potentially have COVID-19, isolate yourself away from other people but be sure to keep in touch with loved ones, shelter in place, call your doctor and follow his/her directions. If you feel you have a life threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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