The COVID-19 coronavirus: What You Should Know

The COVID-19 coronavirus: What You Should Know

CURRENT STATUS





A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State health departments including the New Hampshire (NH) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services' (DPHS), and City of Dover emergency management and health officials continue to monitor the situation. 

Call 2-1-1 for questions and concerns about coronavirus


Gov. Chris Sununu, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management, announced that 211NH is now active and can handle all COVID-19 related calls from New Hampshire residents . All residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 can call 2-1-1.

As federal, state and local officials continue to monitor cases of COVID-19, a coronavirus first detected in China, residents are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from all respiratory viruses.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, but only several types are known to commonly cause infections in people, with these common human coronaviruses usually causing mild to moderate respiratory illness (like the common cold). Newer human coronaviruses, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms. The COVID-19 is originally thought to have spread from animals to humans, but now person-to-person spread is occurring.


How is it spread?

It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets, including:

  • Through the air by coughing and sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

This is similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. Until we learn more about how easily the COVID-19 spreads between people, healthcare providers may wear special personal protective equipment (e.g. masks and eye protection) when evaluating a patient if there is concern for infection with the COVID-19.


What are the symptoms?

We are still learning about how the COVID-19 affects people. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Symptoms of people with confirmed COVID-19 infections have primarily included:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

If you have traveled to/from countries with a COVID-19 Travel Advisory and develop symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness within 14 days of your travel, contact your health care provider before going to their office or the emergency department, and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms. You can also contact the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496, if you have questions or concerns.

For the latest travel information and advisories, visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.


How can I protect myself and others?

There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick from viral respiratory infections, and help prevent transmitting infections to others, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you have a fever or are not feeling well.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot - it is not too late to be protected from flu.

Is there a treatment?

There are no specific antiviral treatments recommended for infection with the COVID-19. People infected with COVID-19 can receive supportive care at home to help relieve symptoms, such as taking pain or fever medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying home and resting. Some patients who are very sick may need to go to the hospital to get care.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately.


Additional resources

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website provides updated information about the state's response to COVID-19. The page can be accessed at: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/.

Additional information, including advisories for travel, businesses and schools, can be found at the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 page at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

The Dover School District also provides updates about COVID-19 and the response by school officials here.