COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), continues to spread around the world and in the United States.
Coronaviruses, named for their crownlike shape, are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to more serious diseases and can infect both humans and animals. The virus at the center of the latest outbreak is being referred to as a novel (new) coronavirus, since it’s something that health offices have not seen before.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to limit exposure. This means staying home as much as you can and minimizing contact with others.
Symptoms can appear anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
You should call your medical provider for advice if you experience these symptoms, especially if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or live in an area with ongoing spread of the disease.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience emergency warning signs, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or ability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. This list is not inclusive, so consult your medical provider if you notice other concerning symptoms.
As you go about your day, you should assume that everyone has the virus – including you – and could possibly spread it. Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with COVID-19, you can follow safe hygiene practices to stay healthy and prevent illness including:
As with any new infection, recommendations are changing frequently. For the latest information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov, and the CT Department of Public Health website, www.ct.gov/coronavirus.
Dr. John Graham is the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Quality and Medical Affairs at Day Kimball Healthcare. For more information on Day Kimball Healthcare’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019, visit www.daykimball.org/coronavirus.