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.
The new coronavirus first seen in Wuhan City, China has now been detected in the United States.
How you Can Help
Looking for a way to help our caregivers, patients and community during the COVID-19 outbreak? There is urgent need for donations and volunteers to sew homemade masks.
Latest News From the CDC
Get up-to-the-minute news and information on the coronavirus from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Are you a UH patient or visitor? Here is information you need to know.
Hear From Our Experts
What is the impact of coronavirus on kids, can food or water carry the coronavirus, and what is a quarantine? Watch as UH experts discuss these questions and others.
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:
- Older adults
- People with a serious chronic health problem such as: cancer, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease
- People with sickle cell disease
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
Expect to Stay Home. About 80 percent of people who are infected with the coronavirus will have only mild symptoms and will not need to see a doctor, Dr. Saade says.
As long as symptoms don’t get severe, the best place for someone who thinks they have coronavirus is home, Dr. Saade says. At home, try to stay in a specific room and away from other people. Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
If you think you have coronavirus, the most important thing to do is to stay away from other people to avoid spreading the virus. We do not recommend coming into your physician’s office or a health care facility without a doctor’s directive to do so. That is why we recommend using UH Virtual Visit or calling your physician as the first step in your care. This will minimize the risk to others, while determining the risk and the level of care you need.
Your health care professional will work with the Ohio Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine if you need to be tested for the coronavirus.
Is It Safe to Travel?
People who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 should avoid all non-essential travel, especially cruises and non-essential air travel, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you have been to infected countries or U.S. states within the past 30 days and develop symptoms, call your doctor.
Treat Common Symptoms Virtually
Use UH Virtual Visit to immediately consult with a doctor using a computer or mobile device for everything from colds to infections.
To create an account, text UHVirtualVisit to 635483 or visit UHhospitals.org/VirtualVisit.
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 healthcare 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 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.
UH Emergency Departments are erecting tents for use as alternate screening sites. This will allow us to keep patients separated and optimize hospital capacity for the community.
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 be asked about recent travel history and the presence of flu-like symptoms. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees F or higher or exhibiting flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to enter our facilities. We are also advising employees to follow Gov. Mike DeWine's directive to take their temperature before coming to work.
UH Among First in Nation to Test Investigational Antiviral Drug
University Hospitals has secured two clinical trials that will provide the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir to hospitalized adults with pneumonia due to the novel coronavirus.
One trial will focus on COVID-19 patients with moderate illness. The second will focus on patients with more severe illness who may require care in the intensive care unit (ICU). Learn more about these studies.