Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.

Health experts are closely monitoring the situation because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.

How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?

COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. That means to become infected, you generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Symptoms of COVID-19 appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, diarrhea and shortness of breath.

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Click here to assess your symptoms and decide if you should come in to be tested.

Where can I get tested?

Greater Regional is capable of testing patients. Click here for testing information.

How many people have been tested?

For local information, click here. For state wide information, click here. For CDC information, click here.

Prevention

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is no vaccine available.

How can I best protect myself?

Click here to learn how to protect yourself and others.

Are pregnant women at a higher risk of developing severe illness with COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's not yet known whether pregnant women are more susceptible to getting COVID-19 or are likely to have more severe symptoms, compared with individuals of a similar age and health status, who aren't pregnant. However, it's still important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses. 

I have a chronic condition that puts me at high risk. How can I best protect myself?

Unfortunately, there is not yet a vaccine that can prevent COVID-19, so we cannot prevent the disease.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new, so we don't yet understand exactly how it impacts specific groups of high-risk people. But, those who are thought to be most susceptible to serious complications of COVID-19 include people who:

  • Are over age 65.
  • Have cancer.
  • Have hypertension.
  • Have lung disease.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have heart disease.
  • Have another condition that compromises the immune system.
  • Are taking medications that suppress the immune system.

Should I wear a face mask? Will that protect me?

If you are sick: You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider's office. If you are not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a face mask if they enter your room.

If you are not sick: You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a face mask). Face masks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Children

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they have COVID-19 infection on CDC's current Risk Assessment page.

How can I protect my child from COVID-19?

You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people's items.

While school's out, can my child hang out with their friends?

The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit contact as much as possible. While school is out, children should not have playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household.

Avoid large and small gatherings in private places and public spaces, such a friend's house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place. This advice applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults. Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Remember, if children meet outside of school in bigger groups, it can put everyone at risk.

Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but current data suggest children with COVID-19 may only have mild symptoms. However, they can still pass this virus onto others who may be at higher risk, including older adults and people who have serious underlying medical conditions.

While school's out, how can I keep my family healthy?

Watch your child for any signs of illness.

  • If you see any sign of illness consistent with symptoms of COVID-19, particularly fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider and keep your child at home and away from others as much as possible. Follow CDC's guidance on "What to do if you are sick."

Watch for signs of stress in your child.

  • Some common changes to watch for include excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, and difficulty with attention and concentration. For more information, see the "For Parents" section on CDC's website, Manage Anxiety and Stress.
  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Go to CDC's Helping Children Cope with Emergencies or Talking with Children About COVID-19 for more information.

Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions.

  • Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to wash their hands. Explain that hand washing can keep them healthy and stop the virus from spreading to others.
  • Be a good role model-if you wash your hands often, they're more likely to do the same.
  • Make handwashing a family activity.

Help your child stay active.

  • Encourage your child to play outdoors-it's great for physical and mental health. Take a walk with your child or go on a bike ride.
  • Use indoor activity breaks (stretch breaks, dance breaks) throughout the day to help your child stay healthy and focused.

Help your child stay socially connected.

  • Reach out to friends and family via phone or video chats.
  • Write cards or letters to family members they may not be able to visit.
  • Some schools and non-profits have resources for social and emotional learning. Check to see if your school has tips and guidelines to help support social and emotional needs of your child.

Appointments & Access

I have an appointment at Greater Regional and I am concerned about COVID-19. Should I cancel my appointment?

We are taking necessary precautions on behalf of our patients, visitors and caregivers.

We are also offering virtual health as an option for our primary clinics.

We are closely monitoring this evolving situation and our clinicians are meeting regularly to continue to prepare.

If you have a fever, cough, diarrhea or shortness of breath, or are otherwise concerned you have COVID-19, we ask that you do not come to any Greater Regional Health facility without calling ahead or calling our help desk. Patients will then be evaluated to determine if they require being seen in person or if they meet CDC guidelines for testing for COVID-19 based on symptoms, travel and exposures. 

I have a surgery scheduled soon. Will it be cancelled?

You will be contacted regarded your upcoming surgery by our staff.

Travel

Should I travel internationally?

CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area.

View the CDC list of destinations with travel notices

What if I must travel for personal reasons?

If you must travel for person reasons, practice the following precautions:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 15-20 seconds. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.

Greater Regional Health

What is Greater Regional doing?

Greater Regional is capable of testing for the virus as well as taking care of patients that confirm positive for COVID-19.

Click here to watch a video about what all Greater Regional is doing to prepare and prevent COVID-19. 

You will also be able to find this information on our website under the "COVID-19" tab. This is where all updates will be posted as well as on the home page.

I saw there was a positive case in Union County. Your testing numbers reflect no positive cases, how does that work?

Greater Regional will post updated testing numbers each day. Union County Public Health is part of Greater Regional's many services that we offer, so we help relay their information to the public. As of Friday, April 24th, that first case has now recovered.