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What to Know About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Know the facts, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

How does it spread?

The virus is mainly thought to spread from person to person, through respiratory droplets produced by coughs or sneezes. This means that if you have been within 6 feet of an infected person for an extended period of time, there is potential for respiratory droplets to land in your mouth or nose, and then be inhaled.

My friend or relative didn’t seem that sick. Could I still be infected?

According to the CDC, “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Symptoms range from mild to severe, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. They include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.

What should I do if I think I have been exposed?

The first step is to call your healthcare professional. Please do not arrive at your doctor’s office or hospital before calling them in advance. Your healthcare professional will evaluate your symptons and let you know if you need to get tested.They will work with the local department of health and infectious disease physicians to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. There is a chance that you may be asked to stay home and away from other people until coronavirus is ruled out.

What if I live with someone who is diagnosed or under investigation? Do I need to isolate myself from a patient with COVID-19 at home?

Patients with COVID-19 may be isolated in their home to recover. In this case, you should seek the advice of your healthcare provider or physicians who are caring for your friend or family member in case you may have been at risk for exposure as well. Those without symptoms should continue to avoid the infected person as much as possible, and use a separate bedroom and bathroom if available.

What is the best way to protect myself?

The best way to prevent the virus is to avoid close contact with people who are sick, and practice regular hand-washing with clean running water. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap, including the back of hands, between fingers and under nails, for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them, and use a towel to turn off the faucet. When you must be out in public, practice social distancing rules by maintaining a 6-foot separation from other people. The CDC now recommends wearing a face mask or cloth covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

Call the White Plains Hospital Coronavirus Awareness Hotline at (914) 681-2900 to get information and speak with a live person 24/7, who will be able to guide you through next steps if you suspect you have coronavirus.

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