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.

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 May from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
       
    • 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.

       
  • Find a Test Site Near You
    • New York State Department of Health has created a COVID-19 test locator and can be found by clicking HERE.
      • Please call the testing site or your health care provider before you go for testing.

      • If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.

      • If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.

COVID-19 Vaccine

There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDABoth the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to have 95% efficacy at preventing symptoms and decreasing severe COVID-19 infection. On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine has been shown to have 85% efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 illness.

  • Each vaccine has a different dose schedule.
    • Moderna - Two shot series given 28 days apart.
    • Pfizer - Two shot series given 21 days apart.
    • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen - Single dose.
  • With the Moderna & Pfizer vaccine, the first shot starts building protection. A second shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer.
    • Since they differ in composition, storage and time between the two doses, you should take the same vaccine for both doses.
  • The vaccine is not immediately effective. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination.

Updated 3/16/2021

  • mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 
  • After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine.
  • Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begins building an immune response, making antibodies that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
  • mRNA vaccines are not made from the live virus that causes COVID-19, therefore, there is no chance of getting the disease from the vaccine.
  • It’s important to note that the mRNA does not enter the cell nucleus where our DNA (genetic material) is kept, so it does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. This is a common myth about mRNA vaccines.

  • mRNA technology is new, but not unknown. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods.

To learn more about mRNA vaccines, please visit the Center for Disease Controls page - Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines.

Yes.

  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain the virus. It teaches your body’s immune system how to fight the virus, so it can fight the virus if you are exposed to it.
     
  • Like all vaccines, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been rigorously tested for safety before being authorized for use in the United States. The COVID-19 vaccines have gone through large clinical studies involving tens of thousands of people of various ages, races and ethnicities. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) carefully reviews all the safety data from clinical trials.
     
  • mRNA technology is new, but not unknown. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods.

To learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the Center for Disease Controls page - Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States.

Lewis County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Registration:

With an increasing plentiful supply of vaccine, Lewis County is changing the process to sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Rather than signing up for the wait list on the county website, residents will now be able to look ahead to upcoming clinics and register themselves for an appointment. 

The open clinics will be found at https://www.lewiscounty.org/vaccine-registration. Residents with no internet access can still call 315-376-5453 to register for an upcoming appointment. 

*Please note that youth ages 16 & 17 are only able to get the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Anyone 18+ is able to receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Last updated 4/6/2021

You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. It is normal to experience side effects after the first or second dose of the vaccine. Common side effects include:

  • Soreness in the arm where you got the shot
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
  • Use or exercise your arm.

To reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Dress lightly.
     

To see more information, please visit the Center for Disease Control's What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine page.

In this video from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you’ll learn how vaccine development met the highest standards of safety while using both new science and a century of vaccine experience. You’ll also find out how large COVID vaccine clinical trials allowed us to quickly analyze data to make sure the vaccines are safe and effective.

Travel

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

To view the current travel guidelines, please visit the NYS Coronavirus website by clicking HERE.

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.