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During this time, as a community, we must not panic, but remain calm. We believe that together, we can stay smart about COVID-19 and minimize its impact on our family, friends and community. Below is a list of common questions and answers. We hope you will find this information helpful.

Questions and Answers

 

What exactly is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a newly identified airborne virus in the corona viral family, but it is more severe and spreads easily. Diagnosis is difficult because it shares several symptoms with influenza.

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 is thought to spread similarly to influenza. That is, it spreads person to person through respiratory droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby ― typically within 6 feet ― or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can I catch COVID-19 from contact with an object rather than a person?

Yes, you can catch COVID-19 from an object if the surface of that object has live virus on it. How long the virus can live outside an organism is unknown. Expert estimates range from a few hours to up to nine days, depending on the type of surface, surrounding temperature and environment.

Can a person have COVID-19 without having symptoms?

Yes.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health is developing a vaccine, but it will not be ready and approved for use for at least a year or more.

If I have symptoms or was in contact with a person who has COVID-19, how can I be tested?

If you have symptoms, you should call ahead to your primary care physician or provider. Your healthcare provider’s office can evaluate your symptoms and tell you if you need additional COVID-19 testing.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • A Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or, at least two of these symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • New loss of taste or smell
If you have been in direct contact with a person sick with COVID-19, you should also call ahead to your provider and report your exposure.

 

What about testing at YRMC?
At YRMC, we’re testing dozens of patients each day. Every patient with symptoms that match the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for testing receives a COVID-19 test. YRMC is one of many healthcare providers in the community that offers COVID-19 testing. Clinics, urgent care centers and private practice physicians are also testing numerous patients on a daily basis. To see how many tests have been administered in Yuma County, visit the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Yuma County Updates page, and click on “Daily Update.”

How is a patient treated for COVID-19?

The basic premise of preventing disease transmission is to identify patients who show symptoms, isolate those patients from others for appropriate assessment, and inform appropriate staff and authorities for further response. If people appear with symptoms, they will be asked to wear a mask and answer a series of questions about their health and travel. Based on their answers and vital signs, they will be isolated from other patients while COVID-19 test results can be verified. This may take several days.

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 are isolated and treated. Currently, there is no antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Specific interventions are taken in more severe cases, or with patients with compromised immune systems or complex illnesses.

What can I do to avoid COVID-19?

To avoid COVID-19, you should:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing them for 20 seconds several times a day.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes to keep germs from spreading to others.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces routinely.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Should I wear a cloth face mask?

Regarding whether you should wear a face mask, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides this guidance:

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.

How will I know how many cases of COVID-19 are in my community?

Local departments of public health and the CDC are responsible for publicly reporting COVID-19 cases. Yuma County Public Health Department reports a daily case count.

Yuma Regional Medical Center is committed to the privacy of its patients and complies with all applicable laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. As always, YRMC does not share patient-specific information with the media without prior authorization. YRMC collaborates with public health authorities, including the CDC and local public health authorities, as appropriate. These authorities are best-positioned to provide public health information.

About this Q&A:

Portions of this Q&A were produced by Mayo Clinic staff and adapted by Yuma Regional Medical Center staff. Yuma Regional Medical Center is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Many of these answers reference statements and standards already communicated by the CDC, the definitive source for prevention and procedure for infectious diseases in the U.S.

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