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COVID-FAQs

GENERAL CONCERNS

Where should I look for the latest information?

For the most current information about this outbreak in the United States, go to the CDC website.

The Oregon Health Authority provides Oregon-specific information on its website here (healthoregon.org/coronavirus).

How can I keep myself from getting sick?

You can protect yourself using simple measures, like regularly washing your hands and avoiding contact with sick people or animals. These measures help protect against other infections as well.

It is also not too late to get a flu shot to protect yourself from influenza, which continues to circulate in Oregon.

How do you tell the difference between novel coronavirus and influenza (the flu)?

Right now, influenza is still circulating in Oregon. It is a much more likely cause of cough and fever than coronavirus. The symptoms of novel coronavirus are similar to flu and other respiratory viral illnesses. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Illness can range from mild to severe. The only way to tell what specific germ is causing illness is through laboratory testing. We recommend people with fever and cough be tested for respiratory germs. If a person meets criteria for novel coronavirus testing, providers should call their local health department.

What will happen to me if I get sick after being exposed to this virus?

If a health care provider thinks you might have the virus, they might first decide if you are well enough to stay home or if you need to go to a clinic or hospital. They might also work with local public health to arrange for testing for the virus. Testing will most likely involve a nose swab, a routine blood sample, and coughing up mucus.

If you are seen in a clinic or hospital, your health care provider might ask you to put on a mask and make sure you are not around other people. Care providers may show you to a private room and put on gowns, gloves, eye protection, and special masks.

There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus. So far, most people confirmed to have the virus have recovered.

If you are tested for the virus, staff from your local health department will call you to ask about the details of recent travel and people you have been around. Along with your care providers, public health staff will give you information about how to keep from spreading the virus to your family and friends.

Is everyone returning from China under quarantine?

Quarantine means staying away from other people during the time period that you may become sick with an infection, even though you have no symptoms.

Federal authorities are checking in with U.S. citizens when they return from China and are taking precautions to make sure they do not have the virus.

State and local public health are working with returning travelers to make a plan that keeps them, their families and the public safe. To do this, public health will check in with returning travelers to see how they are doing during the 14 days after they return.

Can I catch the virus from a package or product shipped from China?

Currently there is no evidence of transmission of novel coronavirus from imported goods and there have not been any cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States associated with imported goods.

Generally, coronaviruses do not survive well on surfaces, so the risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks is thought to be extremely low. Coronaviruses are spread most often by small droplets of mucus from the nose and throat.

I have tested positive for a coronavirus. Is this the same thing?

There are many different kinds of coronaviruses. Health centers can test for common coronaviruses viruses when people come in with cough or cold-like symptoms. They are not the same as this new coronavirus.

Currently this new coronavirus — called COVID-19 — can only be confirmed through the CDC. So far, only people who are sick and have traveled to mainland China, or who become ill after being around someone with the virus should be tested.

 

ANIMALS AND PETS

Are there coronaviruses in animals?

The genus coronavirus is composed of at least three groups that cause mild to severe enteric, respiratory, or systemic disease. Coronaviruses are common in several species of domestic and wild animals, including cattle, horses, dogs, cats, ferrets, camels, bats, and others. Although not common, coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. This has been the case with both SARS and MERS.

Where did the 2019 novel coronavirus come from?

The 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is thought to have originated in bats and transmitted to humans. As for the last two coronaviruses, transmission occurred through intermediate hosts, the masked palm civet (SARS) and dromedary camels (MERS).

Is my pet at risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus?

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with COVID-19. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

Is there a vaccination against the COVID-19 coronavirus that my pet can receive?

Currently, there are no COVID-19 vaccines available for humans or animals.

Should my pet wear a face mask when in public?

Pet nose and mouth masks may not be effective in preventing contracting diseases transmitted by bodily fluid droplets. To protect your pet from respiratory diseases, vaccinate your pet for Bordetella, parainfluenza and canine influenza vaccine, which are the most common vaccine-preventable diseases. Keep your pets fully immunized at all times.

If I become sick from the COVID-19 coronavirus, can my pet catch it from me?

At his time, we do not know if humans can transmit the disease to their pets. Prevention is the key to keep your pet safe. If you become ill with the COVID-19 coronavirus, please wear a well-fitted mask to protect your family and your pets.

 

TRAVEL HEALTH

I spent time with someone who recently returned from China. Should I be concerned about getting sick?

If the person you spent time with was well, the time you spent together poses little risk of illness to you.

If the person was sick with a cough and fever, you would want to find out if, before they got sick, they either 1) had traveled to China (especially Hubei Province), OR 2) had contact with someone known to have been sick with novel coronavirus. If either of those is true, you should watch for symptoms of cough and fever for two weeks after you spent time with them. You can contact your local health department during daytime hours for more advice.

As recommended for many types of infections, anyone who shows signs of illness should stay home.

We are expecting visitors from China. Should we tell them not to come? How should we prepare?

With current travel restrictions, visitors from China will have a hard time getting here. If you do have a visitor from China, CDC recommends that they stay away from other people for 14 days after leaving there.

I have travel plans for later this year. Should I cancel due to this issue?

The CDC has issued travel advisories related to novel coronavirus. The situation is changing quickly, and CDC’s travel advisories may continue to change as new information is available. Travelers should check CDC’s travel information for their destination prior to travel.

I feel well but recently visited an affected area or had contact with a sick person from an affected area. What’s next?

As of February 4, 2020, public health authorities will contact returning travelers to assess their risk of the virus and ask them to stay home and watch for symptoms for 14 days.

People with symptoms should call their local health department and their health care provider to decide if they need to be seen. If so, they can create a plan to enter a clinic in a way that avoids being around others.

If I get a fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of visiting an affected area, or I’ve had close contact with a person sick with the virus, what should I do?

Call your local health department and health care provider to decide if you need to be seen. If so, you can create a plan to enter a clinic in a way that avoids being around and potentially infecting others.

If you need urgent medical attention, call 9-1-1. Tell the operator if you have recently traveled to an affected area or had recent contact with someone who might be sick with novel coronavirus.