The Basics

What is the Novel Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. 

On February, 12 2020, the novel Coronavirus was named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) while the disease resulting from this is now referred to as Coronavirus disease, COVID-19. It is a novel strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. 

What are the symptoms of this Novel Coronavirus?

Symptoms range from no/mild symptoms to severe life threatening symptoms.  Mild symptoms include cough, fever, muscle or body aches. 

Severe symptoms require hospitalization and include shortness of breath, pneumonia and severe breathing trouble requiring ventilator support.

How is it spread?

It is suspected that COVID-19 originated from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It is not yet known how easily this new Coronavirus spreads from person-to-person.

Other similar viruses (such as influenza, SARS and MERS) are spread mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

The best way is to avoid exposure to persons known to be infected with this virus. At this time, there is no vaccine for this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

What is the treatment for COVID-19 infection?

The treatment for this virus, like most other viruses, is supportive care. This could be staying hydrated, getting rest at home or in some severe forms may require IV fluids, hospitalization, and monitoring by a medical team.

At the time of this posting, there are several ongoing trials for medications that may be useful in treatment of COVID-19, but there is currently no definitive treatment or vaccination.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. For more and emerging information, please visit these sites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

World Health Organization

Government of Canada
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