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COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus) and how does it spread?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, mainly when they are in close contact with one another (less than 6 feet). When an infected person coughs or sneezes this spread respiratory droplets that can then infect another person nearby.  It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What are the symptoms?

People with COVID-19 don’t have a runny nose or nasal congestion. 90% of patients will have fever and 70% will have a dry cough. Some will have diarrhea although by itself this is not usually a sign of COVID-19.  Those who become acutely ill will experience shortness of breath.

Most patients who have the virus will have symptoms but, in most cases, (about 80%) the symptoms will be mild. People who are older, have chronic diseases, or have a weakened immune system are at higher risk of complications if infected.

If you have difficulty breathing – call ahead to your nearest emergency room and let them know your symptoms and that you’re on your way. That will help them prepare for your arrival.

How can I help protect myself?

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid large public gatherings or meetings.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces often.


What should I do if I recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19?

Contact your AMG healthcare provider at 251-414-5900 or via the FollowMyHealth patient portal at Patients will receive instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

Is there a vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.

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