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Frequently asked questions about COVID-19

Posted at 12:35 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 12:35:49-04

Developments in the COVID-19 pandemic have been constant in Indiana and around the country, and many people still have questions about the virus and how to keep themselves and their families safe. Our goal here at RTV6 is to keep you informed while sharing the best advice from public health officials and specialists.

Below, you'll find answers to some frequently asked questions about COVID-19.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why all the hype around Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and the number of affected countries has tripled.

Although COVID-19 is compared to the flu, the World Health Organization says recent data suggests it is 20 to 30 times more deadly.

“There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 people have lost their lives,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said.

Ghebreyesu says describing the outbreak as a pandemic doesn’t change WHO’s assessment of the threat the virus poses or what the organization is doing to combat it.

According to Ghebreyesu, some of the hardest hit countries are seeing some progress in the fight against the virus.

What should I do if I feel sick or think I’ve been exposed to Coronavirus?
First, if you're feeling under the weather, you should take note of your symptoms. According to the CDC, the coronavirus comes with three specific symptoms: Fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you experience all of the symptoms — especially if you've been traveling to a known virus hot spot or know someone with the virus — you may be infected.

But even if your symptoms match, you shouldn't panic. There may be no cure for the coronavirus, but the vast majority of people without underlying health issues who contract the disease experience a full recovery. According to the CDC, most cases of COVID-19 will be mild. In fact, many people who contract the disease recover safely at home.
If you do think you may be infected, there are a few steps you should take:

1) Immediately call your doctor or health care provider
2) Stay at home
3) Wash your hands and disinfect
4) Monitor your symptoms
5) Continue to self-isolate until you hear otherwise

Read more here.

How is it treated?

To summarize, there are not yet any vaccines or therapeutics for COVID-19. Which is why the CDC has an interim plan, and health officials are doing everything they can to take precatuons and contain the coronavirus.

At this time, the CDC has an interim guidance plan for healthcare professionals. The plan is advising that local and regional health care providers implement a respiratory protection system.

Patients with known or suspected COVID-19 will be in these respiratory protection areas, known as N95 respirators, which filters inspired air, according to the CDC.

Included in the plan is the consideration for designating entire units within the facility with dedicated healthcare professionals who can care for patients. These rooms can otherwise be known as an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR).

If hospitalization is not medically necessary, home care is preferable to patients.

Read more about what the CDC is currently recommending healthcare professionals to do here.

How can I keep myself and my family safe? Do I need to stay home/stay away from large crowds?

Here are 10 things the CDC says you can do to manage you and your family's health at home

  1. Stay home and away from other public places. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  2. Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider immediately.
  3. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  4. If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19.
  5. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19.
  6. Cover your cough and sneezes.
  7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  8. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people in or outside of the home, wear a facemask.
  9. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  10. Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.

How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths of noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it may be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

Can the coronavirus be spread through mosquito bites?

There has been no evidence to suggest it's possible for the virus to be spread through mosquito bites, according to the World Health Organization. It's a respiratory virus, primarily spread through droplets from coughs or sneezes.

What are schools, nursing homes, businesses, and health officials doing to address this?

RTV6 has been following what businesses, popular events and establishments are doing to keep their communities safe, here are a few stories:

1. Woman says restrictions due to COVID-19 outbreak at nursing home causing her added stress
2. Indy nursing home restricting visitors to combat spread of coronavirus
3. IU Health launches 'virtual clinic' to offer free coronavirus screenings
4. Here's what's suspended or canceled in Central Indiana due to COVID-19 concerns