Important facts about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself

Health

(Photo: CDC) This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC is shipping the test kits to laboratories CDC has designated as qualified, including U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. The test kits are bolstering global laboratory capacity for detecting SARS-CoV-2.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Baystate Health wants to educate the public and assure that plans are in place if an outbreak of COVID-19 were to occur in western Massachusetts.

According to a news release sent to 22News from Baystate Health, based on the most up to date information, this is what Baystate Health clinicians want the public to know about COVID-19 and protecting your health:

  • How is it COVID-19 spread? According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread, like the flu, person to person through close contact via respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, as well as through contact with infected surfaces
  • What is COVID-19? The World Health Organization defines coronaviruses as a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases
  • COVID-19 or coronavirus is the disease responsible for the virus called SARS-CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. According to the CDC, the virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)”
  • What are the symptoms? Symptoms may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath for 2-14 days after exposure
  • Where do you go if you think you have symptoms? Baystate Health is asking patients that have traveled to COVID-19 infected areas or had contact with someone who has and feel sick with a fever and cough within 14 days to call ahead of time to explain recent travel history and symptoms before visiting a doctor’s office, emergency department, or urgent care center
  • Should you wear a facemask? The CDC does not recommend wearing a mask when out in public as it hasn’t been shown to prevent virus spread
  • How will I be cared for if I test positive for COVID-19 and what is the treatment? According to Baystate Health, most patients who test positive will not require hospitalization, but patients who do need inpatient care will receive care in isolation once admitted. They also know that so far the virus has had minimal impact on the health of children.
  • Is there a vaccine for COVID-19? There is no vaccine, as of yet, to protect against COVID-19. Some antiviral medications are in the process of testing to see if they can address some of the symptoms.

Ways to keep safe:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily including tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

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