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Posted on: March 4, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Should Know

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Should Know


What is coronavirus disease 2019 (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.

On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concernexternal icon” (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 spread? 

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. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

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

  • fever 
  • cough 
  • shortness of breath

Current risk assessment:

CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.

CDC Recommends

  • Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
    • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
    • If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for:
    • If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
    • If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.
  • If you are a resident in a community where the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been detected and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.
  • For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
  • If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity for up to 14 days. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow the spread of this virus.

Other Available Resources:

  • Governor Ron DeSantis has issued an Executive Order declaring a public health emergency.

Executive Order released 3/1/2020


**For more information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, symptoms, diagnosis, transmission and prevention, please visit the CDC website.

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