COVID-19 Patient Information
Updates and CDC guidelines for our Members on COVID-19
What is the COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by a previously unrecognized coronavirus, called COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19 please visit:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
About the COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and 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). The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. All three of these viruses have their origins in bats. The sequences from U.S. patients are similar to the one that China initially posted, suggesting a likely single, recent emergence of this virus from an animal reservoir.
Early on, many of the patients at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, 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 was subsequently reported outside Hubei and in countries outside China, including in the United States. Some international destinations now have apparent community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19, as do some parts of the United States. Community spread means some people have been infected and it is not known how or where they became exposed. Learn what is known about the spread of this newly emerged coronaviruses.
Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed. Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease 2019.
If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. If you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.
For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity . Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.
Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including: 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. Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the COVID-19 Pandemic
For the latest situation report please visit the World Health Organization’s
Clicking the link below will take you to a listing of the health department in your state. If you can any question you can find contact information for resources in your local area. https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html
Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- Difficulty breathing
Read about COVID-19 Symptoms
COVID-19 is caused by a previously unrecognized coronavirus, called COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19 please visit:
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under a microscope. These viruses are a common cause of mild to moderate upper respiratory illness in humans and are associated with respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver and neurologic disease in animals.
There is not enough information about the new virus to determine the full range of illness that it might cause. Coronaviruses have occasionally been linked to pneumonia in humans, especially people with weakened immune systems. The viruses also can cause severe disease in animals, including cats, dogs, pigs, mice, and birds.
The length of time that the virus survives likely depends on a number of factors. These factors could include the type of material or body fluid containing the virus and various environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions are designing standardized experiments to measure how long COVID-19 can survive in situations that simulate natural environmental conditions.
Right now, there are no disinfectant products registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on environmental surfaces that are specifically listed as having the ability to kill COVID-19. However, related viruses that have similar physical and biochemical properties can be killed with bleach, ammonia or alcohol, or cleaning agents containing any of these disinfectants. Cleaning agents should be used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Contact your county health department (CHD).
- Consult a health-care provider as soon as possible. Call ahead and tell them before you visit that you think you may have COVID-19 so they can take precautions to prevent exposing other people.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- If you have a surgical mask, wear it during close contact with other people. A mask can reduce the number of droplets coughed into the air.
- Remember, very few respiratory infections will be COVID-19.
- Please review your signs, symptoms and travel history thoroughly with your physician.
- 24/7 Consultation is available to physicians through contacting their county health department (floridahealth.gov/chdepicontact) the Bureau of Epidemiology at (850) 245-4401.
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the "incubation period." The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days, although in some cases it may be longer.
There are some common-sense precautions that you can take that apply to many infectious diseases. The most important is frequent hand washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand rubs (see Prevention & Treatment https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html and Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/). You also should avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands and encourage people around you to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
There is information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection available online.
Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.
Learn about COVID-19 Treatment.
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from these areas, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. Your healthcare provider will work with the Florida Department of Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Your healthcare professional will work with your county health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
A person who is tested will have three specimens taken: oral, nasal, and saliva. The samples will be given to the county health department, who will then either ship or deliver them to the closest state laboratory. If a specimen is tested positive, it will be identified as ‘presumptive positive’ until the result is confirmed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For more information on COVID-19 testing see CDC Tests for COVID-19.
No. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. The recently emerged COVID-19 is not the same as the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. The Florida Department of Health and CDC recommend that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus.