What Is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) not previously seen in humans. The name “COVID-19” is an abbreviation of the full description of the disease “Coronavirus Disease 2019,” given by the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO identified COVID-19 in late 2019 after an outbreak in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province. To date, cases of COVID-19 have spread around the world, making the condition one of the most rapidly emerging infectious diseases. COVID-19 can cause fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
This virus is spread through human contact, much like the cold or flu. It is recommended that you avoid hand contact with others as possible, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose. Frequent and thorough hand-washing is also recommended.
Currently, there is no vaccine or medication approved to treat COVID-19. The virus has been identified in more than 90,000 people across the globe. While most people recover from COVID-19, it can be life-threatening. Those at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 are older adults, immunocompromised individuals, and those with serious chronic illness and other existing diseases.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are like other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza (flu) or the common cold. Because of that, only lab tests can definitively diagnose it. In the U.S., only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and some state health departments currently have validated tests to diagnose COVID-19.
The most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can become life-threatening. COVID-19 also can cause complications like pneumonia.
Symptoms can appear anywhere from two days to two weeks after exposure to COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), according to the latest information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can become life-threatening, with more serious cases of COVID-19 causing complications like pneumonia.
Emergency Warning Signs:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Persistent Chest Pain
- New Sense of Confusion
- Bluish Lips or Face
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the Emergency Warning Signs, seek medical attention immediately.
How to Find Help
People most at risk of contracting COVID-19 are those who have traveled to places where person-to-person transmission of the virus is occurring, and/or those who have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
If you believe you have been exposed to the coronavirus, whether you have symptoms or not, you should contact your primary care provider– to receive initial guidance. A phone call or virtual care visit from home limits the spread of infection, and if needed, your provider can guide you safely to the next care site.
If you do not have a primary care provider, you can call the Allegany County Department of Health at 301-759-5000. You can also check your symptoms online using the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.
If you are experiencing a fever, cough, and trouble breathing, visit an emergency department in your community for immediate care. If you can, call ahead of time so they may prepare for your arrival and prevent the spread of any illness, but do not delay if you have severe breathing problems.
In case of an emergency, the UPMC Western Maryland Emergency Department can be reached at 240-964-1200.
Urgent Care Centers
All locations are open for patients with urgent needs that do not require an emergency room visit. These locations are requesting all patients to return to their vehicles and call in to enter the facility. This will allow staff to screen the patients for COVID-19 symptoms before entering and providing necessary direction.
The standard charges assigned to COVID-19 procedures, tests, services, drugs and supplies associated is available on the Hospital Charge List