What is COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
How is the Virus Spread
This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. 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. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 fee) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then, touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.(Source: CDC)
What are the symptoms
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
- Shortness of breath
How can you protect yourself
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- 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.
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and let them air dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick.
Illinois COVID-19 Hotline (Illinois Department of Public Health): 1-800-889-3931
Sangamon County Health Department COVID-19 Questions: 217-321-2606. Website
Center For Disease Control and Prevention: 800-232-4636 open 24/7