GREENSBORO, N.C. — Understandably, many of you may have questions about the coronavirus.
WFMY News 2 compiled some crucial information and spoke with local infectious disease specialist Dr. Cynthia Snider to get answers.
Question: How do you test for the coronavirus?
Answer: Dr. Snider says the testing process is similar to that of the flu. Health care workers take a nasal or oral swab sample and submit it for testing at the state laboratory.
Dr. Snider says Cone Health is working to create a testing site for coronavirus tests to take pressure off of hospitals and doctors' offices.
You can find more information on testing from the state Department of Health and Human Services website here.
Question: How does coronavirus spread?
Answer: "This is a respiratory illness, so the same way that flu is transmitted and other types of respiratory infections - it's more like droplets," Dr. Snider said, "So, if someone coughs on you, or maybe they’ve coughed in their hand and you’ve touched their hand and accidentally touched your face - it’s that type of transmission."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a comprehensive list of ways to protect yourself and prevent illness here.
Question: What age groups should be most concerned about coronavirus?
Answer: Right now, Dr. Snider says the people most at risk are the elderly, or people with underlying medical conditions.
"If you’re older than 65, and especially if you’re older than 80, we worry about that you," she said, "You could have a pretty severe illness from it."
The CDC has more information for high-risk groups, click here for that information.
Question: What does coronavirus look like for the average person?
Answer: "For a normal person, you may even feel like you’re under the weather for just a few days and recover," Dr. Snider said, "You might feel like you have a flu-like illness and also recover. We know that 80% of the folks that have the infection have mild disease. So that’s really reassuring."
Question: Why a 14-day isolation period, or self-quarantine?
Answer: The CDC reports that, for the coronavirus, "the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure, because 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronaviruses."
Question: If you get the infection, when are you in the clear?
Answer: Dr. Snider says, after those 14 days, you're likely in the clear.
"If somebody has been exposed to COVID-19, you're in that incubation period, the thought is that after 14 days you’re safe to be with others and not transmitted infection to anybody else," she said.
Question: Is it possible to get coronavirus more than once?
Answer: "So, that’s a great question that we hear a lot," Dr. Snider said, "The thought is once you get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, and you get better and you're healing from it, and you have developed the antibodies and the immunity - so you’re not likely to get reinfected."
Question: How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?
Answer: Dr. Snider says that's a little less known.
"It's probably a couple of hours," she said, "It really depends on what surfaces. We know that in hot climates and humid climates that they don’t seem to feel that the virus is able to survive in that type of climate."
Question: Is there hope that warm weather and summer months will help stop the spread?
Answer: According to the CDC, "It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months.
"At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing."
FACTS NOT FEAR
Remember facts, not fear when talking about the coronavirus. You should take the same measures recommended by health leaders to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses. That means washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and covering coughs and sneezes.
WHERE YOU GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS IS IMPORTANT
It is important to make sure the information you are getting about the coronavirus is coming directly from reliable sources like the CDC and NCDHHS. Be careful not to spread misinformation about coronavirus on social media.
NC CORONAVIRUS HOTLINE
The state also has a special hotline set up where you can call 866-462-3821 for more information on the coronavirus. You can also submit questions online at ncpoisoncontrol.org or select chat to talk with someone about the virus.
You can also text keyword VIRUS to WFMY News 2 at 336-379-5775 to find out more information.