Q& A with the Hopkinton Health Department
Why is the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) now being called COVID-19?
The World Health Organization made an announcement Feb. 11 that the official name for the illness caused by the new coronavirus (previously known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) is now COVID-19.
What is the status of the COVID-19 outbreak?
For the latest situation report please visit the World Health Organization’s https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
How many cases of COVID-19 have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health?
To see the latest case count please visit COVID-19 page.
What is the Hopkinton Heath Department doing to address COVID-19?
The Hopkinton Health Department is actively involved in enhanced surveillance for respiratory illness that may be COVID-19. Both Shaun McAuliffe and myself, would be required to follow up on any suspected cases that meet criteria for COVID-19 to arrange for testing when needed and monitor contacts of any confirmed cases, if they occur.
The Hopkinton Health Department will communicate regularly with the public and health care providers with updates on COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.
What are the symptoms and signs of COVID-19?
Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
Read about COVID-19 Symptoms
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by a previously unrecognized coronavirus, called COVID-19. For more information about COVID-19 please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/novel-coronavirus
How does the virus spread?
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under a microscope. These viruses are a common cause of mild to moderate upper respiratory illness in humans and are associated with respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver and neurologic disease in animals.
If coronaviruses usually cause mild illness in humans, how could this new coronavirus be responsible for a potentially life-threatening disease such as COVID-19?
There is not enough information about the new virus to determine the full range of illness that it might cause. Coronaviruses have occasionally been linked to pneumonia in humans, especially people with weakened immune systems. The viruses also can cause severe disease in animals, including cats, dogs, pigs, mice, and birds.
How long can COVID-19 survive in the environment?
The length of time that the virus survives likely depends on a number of factors. These factors could include the type of material or body fluid containing the virus and various environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions are designing standardized experiments to measure how long COVID-19 can survive in situations that simulate natural environmental conditions.
Am I at risk for COVID-19 infection in the United States?
What should I do if I think I or someone I know might have been exposed to COVID-19?
Call the Hopkinton Health Department we can help provide further instructions and facilitate testing.
Consult a health-care provider as soon as possible. Call ahead and tell them before you visit that you think you may have COVID-19 so they can take precautions to prevent exposing other people.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.If you have a surgical mask, wear it during close contact with other people. A mask can reduce the number of droplets coughed into the air. Remember, very few respiratory infections will be COVID-19.Please review your signs, symptoms and travel history thoroughly with your physician.
If I were exposed to COVID-19, how long would it take for me to become sick?
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the "incubation period." The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days.
What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
You should call the Hopkinton Health Department for further instructions. The CDC has provided their recommendations for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection available online but it can difficult to navigate next steps alone.
Should I be tested for COVID-19?
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from these areas, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. You can call the Hopkinton Health Department for assistance. COVID-19 requirements for testing are changing constantly so we want to make sure that all those that meet updated requirements are getting screened and tested appropriately.
How do you test a person for COVID-19?
Your healthcare professional will work with your health department to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. A person who is tested will have multiple specimens taken: oral and nasal or a NP/OP swab. The samples will be delivered to the state laboratory. If a specimen is tested positive, it will be identified as ‘presumptive positive’ until the result is confirmed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Is there a vaccine?
Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.
Should we cancel this event?
Some events are within our ability to cancel. Shaun McAuliffe is making decisions to recommend to cancel events on a case by case basis. Event coordinators should consider alternatives for event staff and participants who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19. Currently, older adults and persons with underlying health conditions are considered to be at increased risk for severe illness and complications from COVID-19. Event organizers can consider reassigning duties for high-risk staff to have minimal contact with other persons. People in high-risk groups should consult with their healthcare provider about attending large events. Consider providing refunds to event participants who are unable to attend because they are at high risk and/or provide information on alternative viewing options.
STAY HEALTHY HOPKINTON