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News about the coronavirus pandemic is changing fast. It's important for everyone to stay informed. Here are a few good things to know.
COVID-19 (short for "coronavirus disease 2019") is the disease caused by the coronavirus. It began spreading around the world in late 2019 and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease.
There are many coronaviruses. Most cause mild illness like a common cold. This coronavirus can cause mild to severe illness. COVID-19 is currently seeing a surge in numbers in Val Verde County. It is important to know what to look for and how you can stay healthy.
The most common symptoms are:
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
Nausea or vomiting
Congestion or runny nose
New loss of taste or smell
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Signs that it's time to get emergency help include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
- New confusion.
- Inability to wake or stay awake.
- Bluish lips or face.
The coronavirus appears to spread easily from person to person. We're still learning how, but we think it mainly spreads through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. This is why masks are so important when you are around people who you do not live with.
The disease is new, and the treatment options are limited. There is currently no vaccine against COVID-19. It spreads fast and can be deadly. So slowing the spread is important. You can help by:
- Avoiding contact with people who are sick.
- Keeping at least 6 feet away from other people in public.
- Wearing a cloth face mask in public.
- Covering your coughs and sneezes.
- Washing your hands often.
- Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Disinfecting shared spaces and objects daily.
COVID-19 is actively spreading in our community. That means we are all at risk and should take steps to avoid contact with people you do not live with. It is possible to have and spread COVID-19 even if you have no symptoms.
Those at risk for more severe illness include:
- Older adults, with risk increasing by age.
- People with certain underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, heart conditions, sickle cell disease, obesity or a weakened immune system.
However, anyone can get severely sick from COVID-19. There are currently more younger people becoming very ill and even passing away. This is why masks are so important.
See the full list of those at high risk at strongcdc.gov/strong.
VVRMC wants you and your loved ones to stay safe and healthy. Please, follow all recommended local and federal guidelines.
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