COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is a novel virus that gives you a fever, makes you cough and impacts your breathing. “Novel” means that this particular virus has never been seen before in human populations. It is transmitted from human to human through droplets (sneeze, cough) within six feet. It can also be spread if you touch a surface that has the virus on it and then you touch your face where it can enter through your nose, mouth, and even your eyes.
Many cases have mild to moderate symptoms and in some people, they just get a little sick and require at most a clinic visit, if anything.
Some people require hospitalization. Those most at risk are seniors and those with chronic conditions such as asthma, lung, kidney or heart diseases.
You and your family’s best defense against COVID-19 is the same as with the flu or any other virus. Remember to:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Throw away any used tissues and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
According to new national guidelines, it is recommended people over the age of two and without breathing problems should wear a cloth face covering that covers both the mouth and nose when they go out in public. This is to protect others in case you are infected but don’t yet show symptoms. But even though you are wearing a mask, you could still catch the virus so you still must practice social distancing keeping at least six feet between yourself and others and wash your hands frequently. Please leave surgical and N95 masks for healthcare workers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, common symptoms of the coronavirus are:
- Cough (usually a dry cough)
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Suspicious rash (COVID toes)
These symptoms are also found in many other common illnesses such as the flu, so having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. Some people may not have any symptoms at all. Any symptoms usually appear about five days after you have been exposed, but it can vary between 2-14 days. You can have no symptoms for some time and not know you are affecting others. Therefore, you need to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, and stay six feet apart.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Bluish lips or face
Seek emergency medical care immediately and call 911. More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
I think I might have coronavirus
The best thing you can do to protect you and your family from COVID-19 at this time is to stay home and isolate yourself, get rest and stay hydrated. People who do not have symptoms generally should not be tested for COVID-19. If you need to be seen, please call our COVID-19 Patient Care Line at 612-873-2922. You can also request an e-visit by logging into your MyChart account. If you do not have a MyChart account, you can sign up for one here, or call 612-873-5600.
If you are experiencing trouble breathing, please call our Nurse Telehealth line at 612-873-6963. If this is a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.
Click here to learn who can get tested, where you can get tested, and how to prepare for testing.
Recent Community Exposure and COVID-19 Testing
If you think that you were exposed to COVID-19 during recent community gathering activities, we recommend that you self-quarantine for 14 days. This includes people who have participated in any large gatherings including but not limited to protests, community clean up and recovery efforts, vigils, neighborhood defense meetings, first responders, and others who responded to the event. If you have symptoms, please pursue testing right away. If you do not have symptoms, the earliest time we would recommend seeking testing is approximately one week after your suspected exposure, given it can take anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to turn positive. Please follow the guidelines above to be tested at one of our testing locations.
There is currently no official treatment for COVID-19, although work is underway nationally to develop one. Some over-the-counter medicines may help with some symptoms such as fever and cough. The best treatment for mild to moderate cases is isolation, plenty of rest and stay hydrated. If your symptoms worsen, please call our COVID-19 Patient Care Line at 612-873-2922. There is also intense work by scientists to create a vaccine.
Information changes quickly.
Please check these websites for the latest information: