Q&A: Answers to your coronavirus questions
Editor’s note: The Craig Press will host a live webinar answering common questions about the new coronavirus at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 19. The webinar will be available to view at CraigDailyPress.com/coronavirus. Attendees will have the chance to submit questions during the webinar, and answers to the questions will be added below.
What does it mean to flatten the curve?
In a scenario where a lot of people get sick over a short period of time, the estimated 15% of cases that require hospitalization are likely to overwhelm public health resources, including hospitals, which has happened in Italy. If the same number of people get sick over a longer period of time, hospitals are better equipped to meet the demand.
What is social distancing and how does coronavirus spread?
Social distancing is maintaining a distance of 6 or more feet between people. This prevents people from coming into contact with others’ respiratory droplets, which are produced when someone coughs or sneezes. Respiratory droplets are considered the primary way COVID-19 spreads.
Learn more: How COVID-19 spreads
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
People who have COVID-19 symptoms should be in isolation, whether at home or at the hospital, in order to prevent spreading the disease to others. Quarantine is for people who’ve had close contact with positive cases of COVID-19 but do not have symptoms. Putting people in self-quarantine is a cautionary measure to help keep the disease from spreading if those people do become infected.
Learn more: Quarantine and isolation
What is the difference between coronavirus, COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2?
COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2, a type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses can cause the common cold or more severe diseases such as SARS, MERS and COVID-19, the latter of which first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, the first caused by a coronavirus.
What is community spread?
Community spread means the virus is passing from person to person within the Moffat County community.
What is contact tracing?
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, local health officials interview that person to find out where they’ve been and with whom they’ve had contact. Anyone who has had close contact in a confined space for more than 10 minutes with someone who tests positive will be contacted by county public health officials and likely asked to self-quarantine. The public health risk to anyone else is considered low.
Learn more: What is contact tracing and why is it important?
Why isn’t more information being released about those who have tested positive?
Moffat County health officials will not releasing demographic information — including age, gender and residency — about new cases because providing that information would be too taxing on health officials who are focused on investigating and managing the public health crisis. Officials also noted that age data, specifically, wouldn’t accurately reflect the outbreak because only at-risk groups are being tested.
Health officials also will not release information about where a person visited before testing positive because they believe it would cause “unnecessary panic.”
How can I protect myself?
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow shirt sleeve or a tissue, and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as desks, doorknobs, handrails, etc.
- 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
- Get your flu shot, and stay up-to-date on other routine childhood and adult immunizations
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
Without a test, it’s difficult to be sure, but common symptoms include a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?
Only those who are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions will be tested. Health care workers and first responders also will be tested if symptomatic.
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
If you’re younger than 60 and otherwise healthy, self-isolate and treat your symptoms like you would with any other illness. If your symptoms worsen, call you health care provider.
If you’re older than 60 or have chronic health conditions — like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease — call your health care provider.
People who are ill should remain isolated for 7-10 days and should not leave isolation until their symptoms improve and they don’t have a fever for 72 hours, without the help of fever-reducing medications
What is the death rate of COVID-19 compared with other coronavirus and recent pandemics?
- MERS (2012): 34% death rate, more than 858 deaths
- SARS (2003): 10% death rate, 774 deaths
- COVID-19 pandemic (2019): 0.25% to 3.0% death rate, about 8,000 deaths so far
- H1N1 flu pandemic (swine flu, 2009): 0.02% death rate, 151,000-575,000 deaths
What business are allowed to be open?
- Federal, state, local and special district facilities, public utilities and utility service providers (electric utility providers, internet service providers, water and sewer service providers)
- Banks, title companies, grocery stores, pet food stores, hardware stores
- Medical service providers, including hospitals, doctors offices, physical therapists and pharmacies, medical supply companies, dental offices and veterinarians
- Retail gas stations, car dealerships, auto mechanic facilities, car rental companies
- Department stores, like Walmart and Target
- The sale of food and beverages — including liquor, beer and wine — is limited to carry-out. Food and nonalcoholic beverages also can be delivered.
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