Personal Health

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus (COVID-19), pronounced “kr-ow-nuh-vai-ruhs” is a new respiratory illness that has never been seen in humans before. Symptoms are often mild and similar to a cold or the flu. Most people infected with COVID-19 will develop a cough, shortness of breath, and a fever. However, people with respiratory diseases such as asthma or cystic fibrosis, those with weakened immune systems, or people over the age of 60 years old may experience severe symptoms that could be life-threatening.

How do people get this virus?

The virus is found in an infected person’s mucous, saliva and/or sputum (secretions from the lungs). COVID-19 likely spreads when an infected person sneezes or coughs close to a non-infected. The virus can also be spread by touching contaminated objects or surfaces.

How can a person tell if they have COVID-19?

The only way a person can tell for sure if they have COVID-19 is by seeing a health care provider (HCP), who will then perform a special test.  If you have been exposed to a person with the virus or you are experiencing mild respiratory symptoms and fever, call your HCP will determine if you need testing. If you experience a fever, do not take medications such as ibuprofen or NSAIDs. Take acetaminophen or Tylenol, only!

Anytime anyone is very sick or having breathing problems, they should see their health care provider or go to the closest emergency room right away.

Can COVID-19 be prevented?

There are ways to lower a person’s risk for getting infected with the COVID-19 virus (as well as many other illnesses that are spread from person to person).

  • Avoid being around people who are sick.  Don’t kiss, hug or share cups or silverware with anyone who is ill.
  • Practice social distancing (maintaining 3 to 6 ft. between you and other people)
  • Avoid shaking hands with others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Try counting to 20 by saying “one one thousands, two one thousands…” or sing “Happy Birthday” twice!
  • Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes
  • Change your clothes after going out in public
  • Wash your face after going out in public
  • Clean surfaces with a disinfectant when anyone in your family is sick.
  • Get your flu shot!


If you have asthma, you should also:

  • Review and update your asthma plan with your health care provider.
  • Take your medicine to control your breathing

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