What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. The new disease caused by the coronavirus that’s spreading right now, which began in Wuhan, China, is called COVID-19. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 might have mild to severe respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How does COVID-19 spread?
The disease can spread from person to person, especially if they are in close proximity with one another, meaning within six feet. It is spread through tiny respiratory droplets, such as saliva or mucus, which are sent through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can enter the mouths and noses of people who are nearby. Older people with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable.
How can I protect myself and others?
Health officials suggest that you stay home if you are sick. The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Try not to touch your face.
When should I see a doctor?
If you feel like you are developing COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should call a doctor and perhaps be tested. Be aware that COVID-19 symptoms may take between two and 14 days to appear after exposure. If you have traveled within the past 14 days from one of the affected countries, you should also get tested.
What are the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) about gatherings?
The MDH recommends postponing or canceling concerts, professional conferences, school performances, sporting events, and other gatherings that would involve more than 250 people. The department also recommends postponing or canceling smaller events that would be held in crowded auditoriums, rooms, or other venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person.
Many sporting and other events have been canceled already and so have in-person classes at the University of Minnesota.
Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday that all Minnesota K-12 schools will close starting March 18 through March 27, in response to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
Sahan Journal’s health coverage is supported in part by a generous gift from Delta Dental of Minnesota.