COVID-19 FAQ

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General COVID-19 Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

From the CDC:

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths).
     
  • It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.
    • These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
    • Droplets can also land on surfaces and objects and be transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
       
  • It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.

From the CDC:

Case investigation is the identification and investigation of patients with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19.

Contact tracing is the subsequent identification, monitoring, and support of their contacts who have been exposed to, and possibly infected with, the virus.

Prompt identification, voluntary quarantine, and monitoring of these COVID-19 contacts can effectively break the chain of disease transmission and prevent further spread of the virus in a community. While case investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19 may be new, health departments and frontline public health professionals who perform these activities have experience conducting these activities for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and other infectious diseases. Case investigation and contact tracing are well-honed skills that adapt easily to new public health demands and are effective tools to slow the spread of COVID-19 in a community.

During the case investigation process, Public Health will work with the person with COVID-19 to identify any close contacts this person had 48 hours prior to their symptoms starting or 48 hours prior to their test if they are asymptomatic. Close contacts that are identified will be notified that they were exposed to a person with COVID-19 and will be placed under quarantine for 14 days since their last contact with the positive case.

A close contact is considered someone closer than 6 feet together with or without a mask for more than 10 minutes within 48 hours to positive person's symptom onset or a positive test result. Close contacts should quarantine for 14 days and monitor symptoms daily. If symptoms develop, individual should get tested immediately. Some individuals may want to get tested right away for various reasons. Public Health recommends waiting until 7-10 days post exposure.

Contacts of a close contact are individuals who have been around identified close contacts of a confirmed/probable case prior to the close contact being quarantines. Contacts of a close contact should continue practicing safety protocols such as social distancing, wearing a face covering, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, practicing frequent handwashing, and self checking for symptoms. If the close contact tests positive or begins to develop symptoms within 48 hours prior to their positive test, you should quarantine.

Image of Understanding Transmission & Close Contacts

Isolation separates people who have tested positive for COVID-19 from others, regardless of if they have symptoms or not.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, to see if they become sick. 

Isolated and quarantined individuals will be contacted daily to check in on their well-being and to ensure they have what they need to get through the isolation/quarantine process.

The ultimate goal of isolation and quarantine is to separate and restrict the movement or activities of persons who are ill, suspected of being ill, or who have been exposed to infection, for the purpose of preventing transmission of diseases.

Yes. Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear as late as 14 days after the exposure. Therefore, a negative test does not guarantee that you will not become sick or test positive. COVID-19 has a 14 day incubation period, meaning there is a 14 day window that you could become positive. For this reason, the full 14 days of quarantine are required.

Symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as more is learned more about COVID-19. 

Most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and recover on their own. Less commonly, COVID-19 may lead to pneumonia, other severe complications, hospitalization or death.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.

  • Stay home except to get medical care (including testing for COVID-19)
    • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas (such as grocery stores, drugstores, department stores, shopping malls, theaters, religious services, community centers) or attend any social gatherings.
       
    • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines to help you feel better.
       
    • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
       
    • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

       
  • Separate yourself from other people
    • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask.
    • Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone.

  • Monitor your symptoms
    • Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms.
       
    • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
       
    • Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
      • Trouble breathing
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion
      • Inability to wake or stay awake
      • Bluish lips or face
      • *This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

      • Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
         

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor

    • Call ahead. Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.

    • If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
       

  • If you are sick, wear a mask over your nose and mouth

    • You should wear a mask over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people or animals, including pets (even at home).

    • You don’t need to wear the mask if you are alone. If you can’t put on a mask (because of trouble breathing, for example), cover your coughs and sneezes in some other way. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people around you.
       
    • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 years, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is not able to remove the mask without help.
    • Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, medical grade facemasks are reserved for healthcare workers and some first responders.
       

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
       
    • Throw away used tissues in a lined trash can.
       
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
       
  • Clean your hands often

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
       
    • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
       
    • Soap and water are the best option, especially if hands are visibly dirty.
       
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
       
    • Handwashing Tips
       
  • Avoid sharing personal household items

    • Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
       
    • Wash these items thoroughly after using them with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
       
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday

    • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom; wear disposable gloves. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but you should clean your bedroom and bathroom, if possible.
       
    • If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and disposable gloves prior to cleaning. They should wait as long as possible after the person who is sick has used the bathroom before coming in to clean and use the bathroom.
       
    • Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
       
    • Use household cleaners and disinfectants. Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
      • Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
      • Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A full list of disinfectants can be found here.
      • Complete Disinfection Guidance
      • High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

Prevention

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating.
    • VIDEO: What You Need To Know About Handwashing - CDC

      •  
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick.
     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
     
  • Stay home as much as possible. Everyone – even young people and those who feel well.
     
  • If you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
     
  • You must wear a face mask or face covering in public when social distancing (staying 6 feet apart) is not possible, especially on public transport, in stores and on crowded sidewalks.
     
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
     
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Testing

Maple Ridge Center:

Lewis County Health System's free state COVID-19 drive-thru testing site will be open for testing Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in November from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (November 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 and 30.)

The testing site has moved to a NEW LOCATION. Testing will be done at Maple Ridge Center, 7421 East Road, in Lowville. Upon arrival, follow traffic signs to the COVID-19 testing clinic. All patients requesting testing will be asked to provide their name, date of birth, physical address, email address, and a phone number to allow for contact tracing and result follow-up. Samples are being sent to an off-site New York State (NYS) designated lab with results currently being reported in approximately three days.

There is no cost or age limit for testing. Members of the community can visit https://www.lcgh.net/coronavirus for updates and additional COVID-19 pandemic information and resources.

Travel

To fill out the NYS Traveler Health Form online, please click here:

From the NYSDOH Website:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced new guidelines allowing travelers to New York to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont) are exempt from the travel advisory; however covered travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Essential workers will continue to be exempt as well. The guidance also applies to international travelers coming from any CDC Level 2 or Level 3 Health Notice country. The new protocol is effective Wednesday, November 4. 

For any traveler to New York State from a noncontiguous state, US territory or CDC level 2 or level 3 country, the new guidelines for travelers to test-out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine are below:

  • For travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:
    • Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
    • The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
    • On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
       
  • For travelers who were out-of-state for less than 24 hours:
    • The traveler does not need a test prior to their departure from the other state, and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State.
    • However, the traveler must fill out our traveler form upon entry into New York State, and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.

Local health departments will validate tests, if necessary, and if a test comes back positive, will issue isolation orders and initiate contact tracing. The local health department must make contact with the state the traveler came from, to ensure contact tracing proceeds there as well. All travelers must continue to fill out our traveler form upon arrival into New York State to contribute to New York State’s robust contact tracing program.

The travel guidelines require all New Yorkers, as well as those visiting from out-of-state, to take personal responsibility for compliance in the best interest of public health and safety.

For general inquires contact the call the Hotline: 1-888-364-3065 or Ask a Question.

To file a report of an individual failing to adhere to the quarantine pursuant to the travel guidelines click here or call 1-833-789-0470.

Individuals may also contact their local department of health.

Filing a Complaint

Governor Cuomo enacted a law that provides benefits - including sick leave, paid family leave, and disability benefits - to New York employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. If your employer does not comply with this law, you have the right to file a complaint. If you work for a non-essential business, you may not be forced to go to the worksite or otherwise threatened if you do not work at a place other than your home.

Read more at https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/coronavirus-complaints.shtm

Complete this form to file a complaint.

You may also call 1-833-789-0470.

In an effort to help enforce the state mandates put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus, people can now report non-essential gatherings or businesses in violation of state regulations.

Complete this form to file a complaint.

You may also call 1-833-789-0470.