COVID-19: What You Want to Know
With heightened concerns about the Coronavirus (aka COVID-19), there is a steady stream of information circulating in the news, on the internet, and on social media. As librarians, we know how important it is to find reliable, accurate information to make educated decisions for yourself and your family. We have pulled together some helpful sources for you.
While we do not yet have a Coronavirus outbreak in York County, the presence of Coronavirus has been confirmed in Pennsylvania. We are encouraging all library members and staff members who are ill to stay at home until they are better. This will help limit the spread of respiratory illnesses such as the flu, colds, and COVID-19.
Some measures you can take to keep healthy include frequent handwashing, practicing cough and sneeze hygiene, and limiting contact with others when ill.
- World Health Organization – Clean Hands Protect Against Infection
- Health 24 – Cough Etiquette – Yes, there is a right way to cough and here’s how
What are the symptoms?
When it causes symptoms, coronavirus causes a person to have a fever, dry cough, fatigue, and breathing difficulty. Coronavirus may also cause a person to have body aches, nasal congestion or runny nose, a sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after exposure to COVID-19 and may be mild symptoms that can be treated at home or may be severe symptoms that require professional medical care.
COVID-19 may not cause symptoms at all (this is called an asymptomatic case). Healthy people with strong immune systems who get COVID-19 may unknowingly spread the illness to others who are more likely to have a more severe illness, such as immunocompromised persons or the elderly.
How does it spread?
Coronavirus is thought to primarily spread through close contact with people who have the virus. Standing close (within 3-6 feet) of someone who coughs or sneezes may expose you to the virus. The virus is airborne for a short period of time and can be inhaled. It also lands on nearby surfaces and objects. Touching that surface or object and then touching your face, eyes, mouth, or nose can expose you to the virus. Coronavirus may be able to live on surfaces for a few hours to a few days, but research is still being performed to determine how long it lives outside a person. The best defense is:
- Limiting exposure;
- Frequent handwashing with warm water for 20 seconds;
- Sanitizing high-touch surfaces
Is there a vaccine?
Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 and it is unknown if existing antiviral medicines are effective against COVID-19.
DO Limit exposure
Don’t hoard masks. If you already have COVID-19, a standard medical mask can help you keep others from being exposed. If you are caring for someone with COVID-19, instructions for proper use of medical masks to prevent your exposure can be found here.
DO Stay home if unwell. If symptoms are severe or include difficulty breathing, seek prompt medical attention.
The higher-grade masks (N95s and similar) require special training for effectiveness and more importantly are urgently needed by doctors, nurses, and medical personnel who have a much higher risk of exposure and have the training to use them appropriately.
DO Frequent handwashing. IF handwashing is not available, use a sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol
Don’t take antivirals or antibiotics unless it is a current prescription from a doctor. Antibiotics won’t do anything for any virus, including COVID-19. It is unknown if current antivirals are effective against COVID-19.
DO Sanitize high touch surfaces (doorknobs, remote controls, light switches, cell phones)
|Don’t go out if you’re sick. Keep others healthy!
DO Practice cough and sneeze hygiene
Don’t travel to places with active outbreaks. View the map here.
DO Avoid going to places with active outbreaks—view the map here.
DO Avoid touching hands, eyes, mouth
DO Make or review your emergency preparedness plan for your family.