Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus
What is coronavirus?
The coronavirus epidemic started in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and spread worldwide. The new virus causes a disease known as COVID-19. The virus is part of a larger coronavirus family, which can lead to diseases ranging from a mild common cold to more severe respiratory diseases such as SARS and MERS.
Who is at risk and what are the symptoms?
Public health experts say the new coronavirus is more contagious than seasonal flu. Most people who get sick have mild symptoms, but some get sick more severely. People who contract the virus can develop pneumonia and some have died. Older people or those who have primary medical problems are more at risk of becoming more seriously ill. Symptoms of the virus include cough, fever and shortness of breath.
What should I do if I develop symptoms?
The North Dakota Department of Health advises people to call their healthcare provider to inform them of recent travel or exhibits and to follow their directions. In the meantime, try to avoid contact with other people.
What can I do to prevent the spread of the virus?
The health department advises people to wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds. Sick people should stay home from work or school, both to protect themselves and others they would come in contact with. Avoid touching your face, covering a cough or sneezing with a tissue or elbow, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
Where can I find more information?
People with questions related to coronavirus can call the state health department hotline at 866-207-2880. Those in need of medical advice should contact their healthcare provider.
The health department’s online coronavirus page: www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus
The coronavirus online page of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov