Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus meaning this is a new strain that has been identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. The virus was first identified during an investigation in an outbreak in Wuhan, China back in December 2019.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus may also be spread by a surface that has the virus and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly one’s eyes.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. While the risk of exposure to Ford County residents continues to remain low, there are certain individuals and populations who are at higher risk of severe illness.
Diagnosis occurs through laboratory testing of respiratory specimens and serum (blood). Physicians, not FCPHD, will collect samples for testing. Contact your healthcare provider should you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19.
Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. The best way for all Ford County residents to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:
Currently, FCPHD recommends avoiding unnecessary travel. Depending on your travel history, you may be asked to stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread. CDC and FCPHD recommend all persons postpone any travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. Visit the CDC website for more information on current travel recommendations.
According to CDC, "We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Click the links below for more information.
Question 1: Are you having symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing?
Question 2: Are your symptoms severe?
Question 3: Are you over 60? And/or do you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, cancer or heart disease?
You may also visit the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/index.html
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, follow the CDC’s steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
There is no treatment or cure for COVID-19. For most people, the illness is generally mild and can be safely managed at home. Speak with your doctor about ways you can manage COVID-19 symptoms.
CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive showed signs of illness.
The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in the United States was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness. Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. This investigation is ongoing. On April 22, the CDC and the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in two pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for COVID-19.
Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a potential infection.
There is a very small number of animals around the world reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after having contact with a person with COVID-19. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.
Visit CDC's If You Have Animals webpage for more information.