Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a novel coronavirus. It leads to a respiratory illness that is thought to primarily spread from person to person via close contact.


How does COVID-19 spread?

The infection spreads from person to person via close contact. When individuals are in close proximity to each other, they are susceptible to contracting Coronavirus when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People can also get COVID-19 through touching surfaces with traces of the virus and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 appear similarly to those symptoms of seasonal colds or the flu. These include fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Most patients with the virus have mild symptoms that can be managed at home. However, there can be severe complications from Coronavirus. Some patients may contract pneumonia in their lungs or experience multi-organ failure which can be fatal.


Who is at risk for contracting COVID-19?

At this time, most people in the US are at a relatively low risk of contracting COVID-19. However, more cases are being reported throughout the country as the virus continues to spread. We expect increased transmission of the disease in the coming days.

The first case of COVID-19 in the US was reported on January 21, 2020, and as of March 11 there were 938 total cases reported. You can stay up-to-date with the number of cases in the US through the CDC’s tracking of the outbreak here.

Those who have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 include:

  • Those who have traveled in the last 14 days to an area with widespread transmission of COVID-19
  • Older adults, especially those over 70
  • Older adults with chronic medical conditions or pre-existing health conditions (such as heart disease or diabetes)

Preliminary data also suggests that men may be more susceptible to the disease than women, although this is not confirmed.


How do I protect myself from contracting or spreading COVID-19?

We recommend doing the following to prevent and mitigate the spread of Coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your elbow
  • Keep surfaces clean and disinfected
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick


Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.


What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19. If you present symptoms of COVID-19, do the following:

  • Stay home and avoid public areas and transportation
  • Limit contact with family members and animals in your home
  • Call your healthcare provider to let them know you’re experiencing symptoms. Call ahead before you visit the doctor’s office so that they can take steps to keep exposure limited.
  • Notify OSH immediately of any potential or verified symptoms - it will help our offices work to further decrease spread of the illness to others and inform our caregivers if needed.
  • Wear a face mask if you are sick
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like cups, silverware, and bedding
  • Disinfect surfaces in your home that you may regularly touch, such as counter tops, doorknobs, phones, and toilets.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call 911 if you have a medical emergency

If you or a loved one contracts COVID-19, we cover the exact steps to take to manage your symptoms and prevent the spread. Learn more.