(Updated March 13, 2020)
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Symptoms can include a fever, a cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to severe illness and in some cases death.
Human coronaviruses spread similarly to the flu or a common cold:
Through the air by coughing or sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
Delaware County’s 911 Center uses a national standard for receiving, screening and dispatching incidents called Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) from the Association of Public Communications Officials (APCO). The County’s 911 call takers follow a standard set of questions and procedures which allows them to screen incidents for a high index of suspicion of focused patient types. This information is kept confidential and is only directly delivered to the first responder dispatched to that patient.
Local physicians and hospitals will follow screening protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
The County does not perform the testing for 2019 Novel Coronavirus. National and academic labs are ramping up for testing. Testing will be performed based on clinical presentation and medical indication.
Please contact your health care provider if you suspect you have Coronavirus and feel that you need to be tested.
The CDC does not currently recommend that the public wear masks. Masks are not effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus and should only be worn by individuals in direct contact of people known to be affected.
If a resident tests positive for COVID-19, the County will follow the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health’s recommendations that are current at the time.
Call your healthcare professional if you develop symptoms that are noted above, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
As with any medical situation, call 911 if you or the patient is in distress and it is an emergency.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow - Do not use your hands!
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Do not use your hands!
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask: CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.