What you need to know about the Coronavirus
For updates on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) visit
“The Coronavirus”, as seen on the news lately, is a new type of virus in the group of lung illnesses known as coronaviruses. This virus spreads between people in close contact (within 6 feet of one another), through coughing and sneezing, or possibly through touching infected surfaces or objects. People with the coronavirus can have a range of mild to severe cases, with the worst cases occurring in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. There is still much that we don’t know about the spread and severity of the virus, but at this time medical authorities are not issuing extreme caution.
If you experience symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and you have been in high-risk areas in the past two weeks, contact your doctor’s office.
The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) has updated its Risk Assessment to include travelers returning from affected international locations1 where community spread is occurring and are also at elevated risk of exposure.
If You Are at Higher Risk
Who is at higher risk?
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take action to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
- Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining early prescription refills to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
- Contact your pharmacy to ask if they will deliver your medications to your home. If your pharmacy does not deliver, you can locate a pharmacy near you to set up your home delivery. Please visit https://pharmacy-locator.envolverx.com/, type in your zip code, and “Rx5468” (case-specific) in the group number.
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
The Best Defense: Hand Washing
One of the simplest and best ways to protect yourself from infections is to practice proper hand hygiene! Handwashing can prevent illnesses including respiratory infection, diarrheal disease, and the flu.
- Always wash your hands before preparing and eating food, caring for someone who is sick, and treating cuts or wounds.
- Wash up after using the toilet, changing a diaper, blowing your nose or sneezing, and handling animals, animal waste, or animal feed.
- Wet your hands and lather with soap for at least 20 seconds. Rinse off and use a clean towel or air dry.