Date Last Updated: 10/17/2020

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

A novel (new) coronavirus with origins from bats. The disease abbreviated COVID-19, is not that same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. This novel coronavirus strain is capable of causing more severe respiratory disease than previously circulating coronaviruses. Due to the severity of the disease caused by COVID-19 new recommendations for screening and isolation of these patients are recommended.

What are the symptoms?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. 

How is COVID-19 spread?
The most common way COVID-19 is spread is from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. What does that mean specifically? When people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and someone with the virus coughs or sneezes and then another person inhales it, or droplets from the cough or sneeze land on commonly used surfaces. Others who come into contact with those surfaces or objects and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth could contract the virus.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

How easy is it to spread COVID-19?

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, sneezes, or talks. 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). For more information on how COVID-19 spreads, click here.

What do I do, if I think I have Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Call your healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, or have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Tell your healthcare professional about your recent symptoms or contact. Your healthcare professional will work with you to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Who Gets Tested for COVID-19?
We follow the testing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, which are updated regularly. If you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to be tested, or have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive, please talk with your physician.

Most St. Francis Medical Group primary care providers offer COVID-19 testing. Click here for a listing of these primary care clinics.