Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
Our experts from the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, in conjunction with other infectious disease colleagues, explain how coronavirus spreads, its symptoms, if you should travel and what you should do if you suspect you have coronavirus.
Get the Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines
Vaccines that may prevent COVID-19 are an important step toward stemming the worldwide pandemic. Find out about the authorized vaccines, how they work, possible side effects, the benefits of being vaccinated and how you can get vaccinated at University Hospitals.Learn More
The Delta Variant and Why It is Different
The Delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is fueling a rise in cases across the United States this summer.
A variant is a different version of a virus that has changed through mutation. The Delta variant is much more contagious than earlier versions of the coronavirus, meaning less of the virus is required to cause infection. People who get infected with the Delta variant produce more of the virus earlier and in higher amounts.
Also different with the Delta variant is that people who are vaccinated appear to be able to spread the virus. This is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued new guidance on wearing masks.
The CDC recommends:
- If you’re fully vaccinated, wear a mask when indoors in public places in communities with substantial or high transmission.
- If you’re not fully vaccinated, wear a mask indoors in public regardless of transmission levels in your community.
- Wear a mask regardless of transmission levels in your area if you have a weakened immune system or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition.
- Wear a mask regardless of transmission levels in your area if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated.
Fully vaccinated people also can test positive for the Delta variant, which is called breakthrough infection. As with any vaccine, breakthrough cases are expected, and do not reflect on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Getting fully vaccinated is still the best way to avoid being hospitalized with or dying from COVID-19. Those who are 12 and older can get vaccinated at University Hospitals by calling 216-983-0012 or by making an appointment for your child with his or her UH Rainbow pediatrician.
If you are fully vaccinated, the risk of having a severe illness from the Delta variant requiring admission to an intensive care unit is about one in 100,000. Deaths from COVID-19 among fully vaccinated people are extremely rare.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a type of virus that are common in animals and, rarely, infect humans. A newly identified coronavirus emerged in humans in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It’s called coronavirus because it is covered with pointed structures that look like a corona, or crown. COVID-19 is the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.
- What Are Coronavirus Symptoms?
People with the virus have reported symptoms that range from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Mild cases may be difficult to distinguish from colds or flu.
Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. They include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue or severe tiredness
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- New loss of taste or smell
“Most patients will get symptoms like fever, sore throat or cough,” says Elie Saade, MD, UH Director for Infection Control. “In a minority of patients, that will progress to cause severe pneumonia and that can lead to death.”
If you develop symptoms, call your doctor.
CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS
Think you or a loved one may have coronavirus? We’ll help you find the right care. Check your symptoms now.
- Is It COVID-19, Flu, Allergies or a Cold? How to Tell
- How Does Coronavirus Spread?
The coronavirus is a respiratory disease that appears to spread like the flu virus – person-to-person and through the air. Virus-containing droplets from coughs or sneezes land in the mouth or nose of another person. You also can pick up the virus by touching an infected surface with your hand, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
People with the virus may be able to spread it before symptoms appear but, in general, people are thought to be most contagious when they are the most symptomatic.
People have little or no immunity to the virus because it is new. This allows the virus to spread quickly from person to person around the world. It may be months before an effective vaccine is developed.
- How Does Coronavirus Affect People Differently?
People who have a higher chance of getting very sick from COVID-19 are:
- Adults age 65 and older
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
- People with a serious chronic health problem such as: autoimmune disorder, cancer, COPD, diabetes, heart disease moderate to severe asthma, kidney, liver or lung disease or pulmonary fibrosis
- People with a serious heart condition, such as cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension, congenital heart disease, heart failure, high blood pressure or coronary artery disease
- People with sickle cell disease
- People who have poorly controlled HIV or AIDS
- People who have had a bone marrow or organ transplant
- People who take immune-weakening drugs such as prednisone
- People with severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure to the disease.
- What You Can Do To Avoid Getting and Spreading Coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick. If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without having used fever-reducing medicines.
- Avoid crowds and close contact with people who are sick. If you are taking care of someone who is sick, try to stay 6 feet away – this is the distance virus-containing droplets can travel through a sneeze or cough.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol hand gel that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Cover your coughs; Sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects at home like door knobs with soap and water.
- Avoid frequently touched surfaces in public places, like elevator buttons, door handles and handrails. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch such a surface.
- What To Do If You Suspect You Have Coronavirus
About 80 percent of people who are infected with the coronavirus will have mild symptoms and can recover at home without seeing a doctor for treatment, Dr. Saade says.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, follow these steps:
Call your physician. Call your physician as the first step in your care and follow your physician’s advice for treatment at home. Your doctor will determine if you need to be tested. If you don’t have a physician, visit a UH Testing Site for evaluation by a clinician.
Stay home. Try to stay in one room and away from other people. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, towels or bedding, and wash them after use. Use a separate bathroom, if possible. Do not go into public places, such as a grocery store, or use public transportation or ride-sharing services.
Monitor and treat your symptoms. Take your temperature. You can take acetaminophen (sold under brand names such as Tylenol®) to reduce fever and relieve body aches. Drink plenty of fluids and rest.
Watch for severe signs. If you develop trouble breathing, seek medical attention. Be sure to call your doctor or emergency room before going in and tell them your symptoms.
CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS
Think you or a loved one may have coronavirus? We’ll help you find the right care. Check your symptoms now.
- How Can I Get Tested?
If your UH health care provider thinks that you need to get tested for coronavirus, he or she will provide you with a physician’s order, which is needed for testing at one of our UH testing locations. If you are experiencing symptoms and don't have a physician, visit a UH testing site for evaluation by a clinician, who can refer you for a test if necessary.
- For COVID-19 Testing
If you have a primary care physician, calling your doctor is your first step in seeking care. If you don’t have a primary care physician or a doctor’s order for a test AND you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, such as a fever, fatigue or cough, visit a UH Urgent Care. Our staff is trained and equipped to treat patients who suspect they have coronavirus.
When you arrive, a health care provider will confirm your medical history, perform a physical exam if needed and obtain samples for lab tests, which may include a nasal swab to test for COVID-19. Please know there is limited availability of tests.
New Testing Guidelines at UH
University Hospitals is now testing patients who do not have COVID-19 symptoms but were recently exposed. Testing should be completed after day 5 of exposure, but before day 10. This is helpful for people who need a negative COVID-19 test to return to work, school or play.
COVID-19 Self-Assessment & Resource Tool
Think you or a loved one may have coronavirus? We’ll help you find the right care.Check your symptoms now
UH COVID Recovery Clinic
Expert, multidisciplinary care for patients who continue to experience physical & psychological symptoms after COVID.
Coronavirus: Expert Medical Advice & Information
Delta variant risk to vaccinated/unvaccinated people and the risk of a more lethal variantDr. Keith Armitage, infectious disease physician and Medical Director, UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health, explains the risk of the COVID-19 Delta variant and why a more lethal variant could arrive.
Why are we going back to masks?Dr. Keith Armitage explains the risk of the COVID-19 Delta variant and why the CDC has again recommended masks.
Delta variant in kidsThe Delta variant is more contagious in adults but what does that mean for kids and what is the best way to protect them? Pediatric infectious disease specialist, Amy Edwards, MD, explains.
UH COVID Recovery ClinicIt is estimated that at least 10-20 percent of individuals infected with COVID-19 will continue to have health problems for weeks, even months, after their body has cleared the virus. The University Hospitals COVID Recovery Clinic is dedicated to the comprehensive evaluation,
Supplies are in high demand for the protection of our caregivers. Your support will help UH continue to provide the highest-quality care to our community.
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Get information on visitor restrictions, non-essential appointments, testing locations and more.
University Hospitals Is Prepared to Handle Coronavirus
University Hospitals is taking steps to respond if needed:
UH’s emergency response plan has been updated for the coronavirus outbreak and to meet any rapid increase in health care needs. We also are in touch with the local health department and the Ohio Department of Health to monitor the situation and respond to new events or recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
We screen all patients who come to our facilities, such as emergency departments, urgent care centers, outpatient clinics and others, by asking appropriate questions about travel to areas of concern as defined by the CDC, contact with persons known to have contracted coronavirus, and about fever and symptoms of respiratory illnesses. The infection control team is available 24/7 to assist at all of our sites.
All UH facilities have access to rooms that meet the standard of isolation for patients with coronavirus as recommended by the CDC, and we can rapidly recruit more rooms throughout our facilities.
All UH employees must undergo mandatory screening for symptoms of COVID-19 as they arrive at work. Before entering the facility, each employee will have their temperature taken and the presence of flu-like symptoms. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher or exhibiting flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to enter our facilities. We also are advising employees to follow Gov. Mike DeWine's directive to take their temperature before coming to work.
Support COVID-19 Response
Community response and caregiver support funds have been established to support the extensive patient care, medical supplies, research and education needs.
Your gift, of any size, can make a significant impact in our current needs of health care, research and education.
COVID-19 Research at UH
University Hospitals and the biomedical industry have come together to assemble a variety of novel and innovative ideas and solutions to prevent, treat, and cure COVID-19.
Learn more about these research efforts at the UH Research & Education Institute.