8 facts about COVID-19 coronavirus

Health

In December 2019, a new coronavirus now known as COVID-19 was first recognized in Wuhan, China, and is now spreading throughout the world.
We reached out to Angela Harris, infection control manager at Tidelands Health, for the latest information about the illness. Here are eight key things to know:

How widespread is the disease?

The number of cases continue to grow around the world. As of Thursday, March 19, there were more than 10,750 identified cases in the U.S., with more than 100 deaths attributed to the outbreak. Sixty cases had been reported in South Carolina.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are often mild, but in some cases can be severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Individuals with COVID-19 coronavirus can exhibit fever, cough and shortness of breath.

How is it contracted?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person.
• Between people who are in close contact with one another
• 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.

Dr. Roxanne Latimer

Listen in

Listen to this Better Health Radio podcast as Tidelands Health family medicine physician Dr. Roxanne Latimer discusses the coronavirus.

It also may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose or their eyes, according to the CDC.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms, but it is not believed to be the main way of transmission.

How can I prevent myself from becoming sick?

Although there is currently no vaccine to prevent a COVID-19 infection, the best way to keep yourself and your family from getting sick remains practicing good hand hygiene and other health practices – the same types of things that help prevent the spread of cold and flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you become ill. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What if I think I’m sick with COVID-19?

Call your health care provider and inform the provider that you may have COVID-19. Follow your health care provider’s instructions.

Should I wear a facemask?

The CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks among healthy people to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. Instead, facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

What is Tidelands Health doing in response to the recent outbreak?

At Tidelands Health, we routinely care for individuals with potentially infectious illnesses and have rigorous infection prevention processes and protocols in place. Working in collaboration with state and federal health authorities, we are drawing upon our extensive experience and training as we respond to COVID-19.
Stay up to date on our coronavirus-related efforts through our coronavirus information center at tidelandshealth.org. 

Where can I learn more?

The outbreak of COVID-19 is a fluid situation as public health authorities continue to learn more about the illness.
For the latest information from the CDC, go here. You can also find information through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control by going here. Visit the Tidelands Health coronavirus information center by going here.

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