FAQ about COVID-19
Coronaviruses are a family of common viruses causing mild to moderate illness in people. COVID-19 is a public health concern because it has not been found in people before, so much is still being discovered about it. Two other human coronaviruses (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV) have caused severe illness in the past, but the immediate health risk for COVID-19 to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. People most likely to be seriously affected tend to be young children, adults over 65, and individuals with weakened immune systems.
A vaccine for this coronavirus is not available at this time, although many labs are working on it. The seasonal flu vaccine does not prevent the coronavirus; however, it does prevent the flu — which is very common right now. It is not too late to get the flu vaccine. CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get the seasonal flu vaccine, because it will help protect you from the most common strains of the flu prevalent now. You have a much greater chance of catching the seasonal flu than of catching the coronavirus at this time.
Check with the CDC and MDH for descriptions of COVID-19 symptoms. According to CDC, patients with confirmed COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients have had other symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
For current information about this evolving public health situation, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus page.
The Minnesota Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Minnesota, how the virus is spread, or what to do if you have symptoms, please call 651-201-3920.
Current understanding about how the virus spreads is based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. The virus is thought to spread mainly from close person-to-person contact (within about six (6) feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Transmission of COVID-19 to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented.