Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses commonly infect humans and many animal species. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new strain that has not been identified before in humans. Common signs of COVID-19 include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing problems. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that affects both humans and animals. Rarely does an animal infected with the virus spread it to people. However, some forms including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to humans.
The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-toperson. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum, and some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while others are less so.
This novel coronavirus in particular seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in certain affected geographic areas (also known as “community spread”). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Reported illness have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always recommends everyday preventive actions to help slow the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Practice social distancing.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Wearing a face mask if you are displaying symptoms of illness.
- Washing your hands with soap and water regularly.
The CDC has put together steps to help prevent the disease from spreading. If you believe you have COVID-19:
- Stay home except to receive medical care. If you are seeking medical care at a Stormont Vail Health facility, we ask that you call before you go (785) 354-6000 and inform one of our operators that you have COVID-19-like symptoms, so we can more readily prepare to treat you.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
- If available, wear a face mask.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
- Monitor your symptoms and inform your doctor if your condition worsens.