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Currently, the risk to the general public for COVID-19 to cause severe illness is low. At this time, there are a small number of individual cases in the U.S. Older adults and those with serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and any condition that affects the immune system could be at higher risk. Additionally, travelers to and from certain areas of the world may be at increased risk. See wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for the latest travel guidance from the CDC.
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COVID-19, also known as Novel coronavirus or just coronavius, is a virus strain that was first detected in December 2019 and has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally and in the many states in the U.S. The virus, while having mild effects in most people, can cause severe illness and pneumonia in others, such as the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
Health experts are still learning the details about how COVID-19 spreads from person to person. The most recent evidence points to infected people coughing and sneezing within six feet of a non-infected person. Other methods of transmission may include:
Upwards of 80% of those infected recover after mild symptoms. Others, especially the elderly and those with serious chronic medical conditions, may experience more severe symptoms including pneumonia that requires hospitalization, and sometimes death.
It is important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially to protect those who are vulnerable. Steps you take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent coronavirus.
These steps are:
The CDC continues to stress concerns with international travel. Currently CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. Travel to Japan is a concern for older adults or those with chronic medical conditions. See wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel for the latest travel guidance from the CDC.
People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus:
Influenza and other respiratory infections including COVID-19 have similar if not identical signs and symptoms. Individuals who think they are sick or are getting sick should NOT report to work. Individuals should monitor for cough, shortness of breath, and fever and should practice social distancing to avoid the spread of any illness they may have. Individuals experiencing the described symptoms AND have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should contact their health care provider by phone. Supply information about symptoms and when and how they had contact with a confirmed case. The health care provider may either suggest testing via a commercial lab or involve public health resources. Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms who are a contact to a case should not arrive at a health care provider or emergency room without contacting the provider or emergency room first.
You can always contact the St. Louis County COVID-19 Hotline 24/7 at 314-615-2660 or Missouri’s COVID-19 Hothline 24/7 at 877-435-8411 if you suspect you could have COVID-19.