More COVID-19 Cases Confirmed; Here’s How to Help Protect Your Family

The risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains low, despite more cases being confirmed throughout the country.

So, what does that mean for you and your family? It’s a good time to focus on taking precautions to help keep you all from getting the virus. Frequently washing your hands with soap and water and avoiding people who are sick are among the most important ways to avoid being infected.

Most of the people who contract COVID-19 recover in a matter of days, oftentimes at home, according to health officials. There have been nearly 90 cases in the United States and two deaths in Washington state since the outbreak began in mainland China in December. Worldwide, there have been about 90,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths as of March 3. Click here for a map with the latest updates.

Here are answers to some questions you may have.

What Are Symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients typically have mild to severe respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and difficulty breathing, as well as a fever. As with other viruses, people who are elderly and/or have underlying health conditions are more at risk. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

How is the Virus Spread?

According to the CDC, the virus is mainly spread person-to-person, particularly when they are within six feet of each other. The primary way to spread it is when an infected person sneezes or coughs and their droplets land on a nearby person’s mouth or nose or are inhaled into their lungs. Another way is when a person touches a surface where the virus is, then touches his or her own mouth, nose or eyes. Click here for more information on how the virus can be spread.

What Should You Do If You Think You’ve Been Exposed?

If you or someone you know is feeling ill (including fever, cough and shortness of breath), you should follow the guidelines of the CDC and the Florida Department of Health by calling your local health care provider for instructions before going to the doctor’s office.

If it is determined that coronavirus testing is needed, our health insurance subsidiary will work directly with providers, state health officials and the CDC to ensure any COVID-19 testing and applicable treatment for our members is covered according to their health plan benefits.

Medical masks are not considered a covered medical device, as at this time the CDC does not recommend masks for the general public. The use of masks should be reserved for health-care professionals and those who are more susceptible to contracting a respiratory virus.

How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Family?

There is no vaccine to prevent infection for COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are some tips:

• 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. Also, wash your hands after you touch things in public like elevator buttons, door knobs and office telephones.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, which should be thrown in the trash.

• Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you’re sick.

• Follow government travel restrictions.

About the Author

Marilyn Young

Marilyn Young spent more than 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining GuideWell.