What You Need to Know About COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Primary symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The vast majority of patients with COVID-19 do not develop serious symptoms, and some develop no symptoms at all. Serious symptoms can include difficulty breathing and pneumonia. Older adults and those with underlying health conditions seem to be the most at risk of becoming seriously ill.

How do people catch COVID-19?
COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person through close proximity to an infected person (less than six feet apart) and through droplets spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Recent travel to an area where COVID-19 is widespread and being in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are important risk factors.

How can I avoid catching COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene habits including:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid touching your face; especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue directly into the trash
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with regular household cleaning spray or disinfecting wipes
  • 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 available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The CDC does not recommend people who feel well wear facemasks to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemask use by the general public contributes to shortages for critical health care workers and often causes people to touch their face more than usual, increasing the risk of infection.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and especially if you have recently travelled internationally or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, please call us first. We have special precautions in place to care for patients with contagious diseases, including COVID-19, while keeping other patients and our staff safe. A member of our medical staff will speak to you and may give you special instructions.

What is Madison County Health Care System doing to prepare?
Madison County Health Care System is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and is working closely with relevant state and local officials. We have special precautions in place to safely treat patients with especially contagious diseases, including COVID-19. Some of these precautions include negative airflow rooms that safely isolate contagious germs during treatment, protective equipment for our staff, special cleaning and disinfecting protocol, and extensive emergency planning.

What if I think I need to be tested for COVID-19?
Our laboratory is in communication with state testing facilities to ensure we are prepared to conduct any necessary COVID-19 testing. Please note that the Iowa Department of Public Health gives guidance on whether testing for COVID-19 is appropriate based on guidelines created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.