COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by a novel (new) virus that arose from the area of Wuhan, China in December 2019. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly 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. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may also be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
It may be possible that a person can 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, according to the CDC, but we are still learning more about this virus.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Signs and Symptoms
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
You can help stop Coronavirus by knowing the signs and symptoms.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.
The New Jersey Department of Health opened a hotline for the community to call with any questions concerning the Coronavirus: 1-800-222-1222.
How do I get tested?
If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 these are your options for testing:
- Call your primary care provider. He or she may triage you over the phone and suggest you go to one of our Respiratory Illness Sites.
- Call Hunterdon Healthcare’s COVID-19 Community Hotline at 908-788-6440. A nurse will speak to you and determine what the next level of care should be. If he/she feels you should be tested, they will suggest you go to a Respiratory Illness Site or to Hunterdon Medical Center’s Respiratory Assessment Tent.
- Come to Hunterdon Medical Center’s Respiratory Assessment Tent open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Instructions below:
- When arriving at the hospital directly drive towards the Emergency Department entrance. A booth has been set-up to greet every patient.
- A staff member will step out of a booth and approach the vehicle to understand your medical needs. Emergency care scenarios will be directed into the Emergency Department. Respiratory symptoms will be screened and directed to the Emergency Department or Respiratory Assessment Tent for care.
- If directed to the Respiratory Assessment Tent the driver will be instructed to follow the signs to the rear of the hospital where the tent is located.
- Upon arrival at the tent, the driver should remain in their car and will be met by a staff member who will instruct the driver where to park and explain how they will be brought into the tent for screening. Testing will be conducted based on assessment outcomes.
If You Have Traveled To An area affected by Coronavirus…
If you were in an area affected by Coronavirus and feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should:
Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
-Avoid contact with others.
-Not travel while sick.
-Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
-Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
-Wear a cloth face mask when going out in public.
Tips to Avoid the Spread of Respiratory Illness:
People of all ages can be infected by the new COVID-19. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available to kill viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain Social Distancing
Social distancing will help slow down and stop the spread of highly contagious diseases. Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others.
Avoid Touching Eyes, Nose and Mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can easily pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and make you sick.
Practice Respiratory Hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Wear a Cloth Face Covering in Public
In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.
Stay Home When You Are Sick
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance to allow your healthcare provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
Wipe surfaces with Clorox or Lysol disinfecting wipes with at least 70% alcohol. Try and avoid getting moisture into the connection jacks of cellphones, iPads, etc. Don’t’ spray disinfectant directly onto a surface, spray on a cloth and wipe clean. Don’t forget to clean highly used objects and areas such as phones, keyboards, tablets, doorknobs, handrails, etc.
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