The coronavirus outbreak is now widespread in many parts of United States; there have been many confirmed cases throughout the greater Dayton, Ohio area, so it’s vital that we all know the facts about this disease and how we can protect ourselves.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19), along with up-to-date answers:

The disease that is currently causing so much concern due to recent worldwide outbreaks, and is commonly called the coronavirus, is formally known as COVID-19. It is a new, previously unidentified strain of a family of viruses — all known as coronaviruses — that cause respiratory illnesses.

As of April 14, over 1,000 confirmed cases throughout southwest Ohio have been reported.

The State of Ohio has instituted a number of measures to limit person-to-person contact and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The Ohio Department of Health has a webpage with all the latest coronavirus information as it relates to Ohio and our region.

Call the Ohio Department of Health Hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH if you have further questions about the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a webpage that tracks where coronavirus cases have been confirmed.

Reported respiratory symptoms range from mild to severe for confirmed cases, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Contact your primary care provider — you will be asked about your symptoms and other factors; appropriate screening questions include:

  • Do you have a fever?
  • Do you have symptoms consistent with lower respiratory illness, such as a cough and difficulty breathing? Do other symptoms include headache or chest discomfort?
  • Have you recently been in contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
  • Have you recently traveled to an area known to be affected by COVID-19?

If you have indicating symptoms or events, you may be advised to:

  • Stay at home.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wear a surgical mask.

Yes, there is a test. It is currently in limited supply; however, more test kits are being made available every day.

  • Currently, COVID-19 tests are being administered in the Dayton area. Please be aware that to receive a test, you’ll need authorization from your healthcare provider. Contact your provider if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have the coronavirus, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of coronavirus.

Normally, testing follows this procedure:

  • Multiple nasopharyngeal swab samples are collected.
  • The sample from the swab is tested for flu; if flu is detected, no further testing is performed, and you will be informed of proper flu treatment.
  • If flu is not detected, the sample is then tested for COVID-19.

Test results for COVID-19 are made available as quickly as possible, although heavy demand for testing may extend turnaround time. Payment and/or co-payment required for testing, if any, may depend upon healthcare insurance coverage and the administering provider.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

It may be possible to acquire the coronavirus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. However, there are everyday steps that can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people — at least six feet separation is recommended.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • 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 readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Here are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest recommendations for use of a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic; updated April 4, 2020.

  • The CDC recommends that you cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

The use of cloth face coverings, and how to make face covers if necessary, are detailed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

At this time there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the coronavirus.

If you think you have been exposed to the coronavirus, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Your provider can recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

The Ohio Department of Health has a webpage with all the latest coronavirus information as it relates to Ohio and our region. Call the Ohio Department of Health Hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH if you have further questions about the coronavirus.

For further detailed information on the coronavirus and its spread, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Providence practices stand ready to provide the highest quality care to every patient during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • We are taking every precaution to assure that everyone who enters our office is safe.
  • If you are concerned about any symptoms that you or a family member may have, please don't hesitate to contact your primary care provider through your patient portal or by calling the practice.
  • Telemedicine Visits are an option — If you are more comfortable with a video visit, they are available. Your provider will perform an initial assessment of your symptoms to determine if further evaluation is required, and to recommend an immediate course of care. Go to your patient portal or call your provider.
  • Currently, same-day appointments are available; check with your provider, or check your patient portal for appointment times.