The Facts About Coronavirus COVID-19

What exactly is the coronavirus?

The disease that is currently causing so much concern due to recent worldwide outbreaks, and is commonly called the coronavirus, is formally known as COVID-19. It is a new, previously unidentified strain of a family of viruses — all known as coronaviruses — that cause respiratory illnesses.

Have cases been reported in Ohio?

As of March 16, there have been several confirmed cases in southwest Ohio, and while most people in our region have a small risk of exposure to the coronavirus, this situation is evolving quickly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a webpage that tracks where coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

The Ohio Department of Health also has a webpage with all the latest coronavirus information as it relates to Ohio and our region.

Call the Ohio Department of Health Hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH if you have further questions about the coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Reported respiratory symptoms range from mild to severe for confirmed cases, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Flu-like symptoms

What do I do if I think I have the coronavirus?

Contact your primary care provider — you will be asked about your symptoms and other factors; appropriate screening questions include:

  • Do you have a fever?
  • Do you have symptoms consistent with lower respiratory illness, such as a cough and difficulty breathing? Do other symptoms include headache or chest discomfort?
  • Have you recently been in contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  • Have you recently traveled to an area known to be affected by COVID-19?

If you have indicating symptoms or events, you may be advised to:

  • Stay at home.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wear a surgical mask.

Is there testing to detect the coronavirus?

Yes, there is a test. It is currently in limited supply; however more test kits are being made available every day.

  • Currently, COVID-19 tests are being administered in the Dayton area. Please be aware that to receive a test, you’ll need authorization from your healthcare provider. Contact your provider if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have the coronavirus, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of coronavirus.

Normally, testing follows this procedure:

  • The COVID Task Force are working to shut off COVID test results from going out automatically since it is a 2-step process. There is an initial/partial result and then the specimen goes out of town for final testing. Patients should not be given the initial result.
  • Multiple nasopharyngeal swab samples are collected.
  • The sample from the swab is tested for flu; if flu is detected, no further testing is performed, and you will be informed of proper flu treatment.
  • If flu is not detected, the sample is then tested for a complete panel of viral respiratory diseases. If any of those diseases are found, no further testing is performed.
  • If flu and the panel of respiratory diseases are not detected, the sample is tested for COVID-19.

Complete test results are normally available within 24 to 48 hours. Payment and/or co-payment required for testing, if any, may depend upon healthcare insurance coverage and the administering provider.

How does the coronavirus spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

It may be possible to acquire the coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

 How do I protect myself from the coronavirus?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. However, there are everyday steps that can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Is there treatment for the coronavirus?

At this time there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the coronavirus.

If you think you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Your provider can recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

Do the 5 to Help Stop Coronavirus

  1. HANDS – Wash them often
  2. ELBOW – Cough into it
  3. FACE – Don’t touch it
  4. FEET – Stay more than 3ft apart
  5. Feel sick? – Stay home