Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause illness ranging from mild symptoms, like the common cold, to more severe illness such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). COVID-19 is a new disease caused by a strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.
Symptoms have included:
- Fever above 38 degrees Celsius
- A new cough, or worsening chronic cough
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- A new onset of fatigue
- A new onset of muscle pain
- Loss of sense of taste
- Loss of sense of smell
- In children, purple markings on the fingers and toes
- Difficulty breathing
In severe cases, infection can lead to death.
If you or a member of your family are showing symptoms contact Tele-Care 811 or your healthcare provider to help arrange an appointment at the closest testing facility.
In an outbreak the number of confirmed cases is important but the rate at which the number of cases is increasing over time is also important. This information is plotted into a graph called an epidemic curve. The horizontal axis is the time cases are confirmed and the vertical axis is the number of confirmed cases. The epidemic curves of outbreaks typically go in big peaks and then come down. Preventative measures can “flatten the curve”.