This article was updated on March 16, 2020 to reflect the latest information from the CDC as of March 15, 2020.
Information contained in this article is for general purposes only. Since this is an evolving situation, it may not be current with the latest developments. If you or someone in your care believes they have symptoms which may be related to COVID-19, call your medical provider FIRST about seeking medical attention. When at all possible, unless an immediate medical emergency, call your medical provider or emergency medical resource before seeking care. Walk-in physician clinics, walk-in convenient or urgent care, and walk-in emergency room visits are not appropriate ways to access care and may put others at risk. Calling ahead allows your medical provider to help you gain access to the most appropriate care in the fastest, safest way possible.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
Statement from the CDC
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. LINK TO CDC
Mental Health and Coping
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Reactions during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
- Fear and worry about your own health status and that of your loved ones who may have been exposed to COVID-19
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster. Connect with family, friends, and others in your community. Take care of yourself and each other, and know when and how to seek help. MEHOP Behavioral Health can be reached at 979-245-2008 and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. People with deafness or hearing loss can use their preferred relay service to call 1-800-985-5990.
Call your healthcare provider if stress reactions interfere with your daily activities for several days in a row.
Things you can do to support yourself:
- Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
- Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
- Maintain a sense of hope and positive thinking.
Children react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared. LINK TO ADDITIONAL INFO
Source and Spread of the Virus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).
Early on, many of the patients in the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. Person-to-person spread has been reported outside China, including in the United States and other locations. LINK TO CDC
For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses. LINK TO CDC
COVID-19 Now a Pandemic
A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.
What you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy
- Take everyday preventive actions to stay healthy.
- 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.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
- Stay informed. CDC’s COVID-19 Situation Summary will be updated regularly as information becomes available.