COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely corona viruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is the disease caused by a novel coronavirus.

Should I be worried about being infected with COVID-19 at a McLeod Health hospital or Doctor’s office?

All hospitals, clinics and physician offices have protocols and systems in place to keep all patients, visitors and healthcare workers safe.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
What do I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If your start to feel ill, try not to panic. The majority of people, who get COVID-19, experience minor symptoms and recover completely.

First, call your doctor or contact McLeod Telehealth.

After discussing your symptoms, the doctor may determine that you do not need to be tested for COVID-19. At this point, the doctor will advise you how to treat your symptoms from home, including what medications to take to reduce your fever and other flu symptoms. Staying at home helps prevent you from exposing other people to the disease.

For more serious cases, calling the doctor in advance will allow the urgent or emergent care team to prepare for your arrival at the hospital with tools, such as masks, alternative entryways into the hospital and rooms with controlled air flow.

Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?

Not everyone who is sick needs to be tested.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that you should call your doctor IF:

  • You recently traveled to countries, regions, states or cities where COVID-19 is spreading OR
  • Have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

If you are only experiencing mild symptoms and have not been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or traveled to one of the countries where infection has spread, you may not need to be tested.

What happens if I feel sick but don’t need the test?

Call your doctor.

How does it spread?

Although there is still much to learn about COVID-19, it appears to spread like other respiratory viruses — by people with the infection coughing or sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose or mouth by contaminated hands.

Is there anything I can do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?

The most important steps to take are the same as for every cold and flu season:

  • Wash your hands
  • Stay at home if you are feeling ill.
  • If you experience symptoms, contact McLeod Telehealth or call your doctor.
  • They will help you determine if you need to be seen and provide you with instructions for seeking medical care.

People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings, where you will be in close contact with others.

People at higher risk include:

  • People 60 and older.
  • People with underlying health conditions, including heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • People who are pregnant.
Where can I learn more about COVID-19?