What you need to know about COVID-19

Here is a guide on what you need to know about novel coronavirus (COVID-19):

What is novel coronavirus?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not yet been identified. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses, with the most common types causing mild to moderate illness.

What is COVID-19?

The World Health Organization gave COVID-19 as the official name of a viral respiratory illness caused by coronavirus, which has caused the 2019-20 novel coronavirus outbreak that was first reported in China.

Where did this virus come from?

The CDC suggests original cases might have been passed from animals to people, with person-to-person spread occurring later. Health officials are continuing to work on identifying the exact source of the COVID-19 outbreak.

More information on current research into the source can be found here.

What are the symptoms?

According to the CDC, patients with confirmed COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory problems, with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some patients report having muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and/or diarrhea.

The CDC adds COVID-19 "seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community," meaning it is contagious.

The CDC states symptoms may appear within two to 14 days after exposure.

Who is at a higher risk?

The CDC indicates older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at a higher risk of getting sick from this virus.

What can I do prevention-wise?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Therefore, the CDC says the best way to prevent the illness is to avoid exposure.

Additionally, the CDC advises taking the same precautions for avoiding colds and the flu, including washing hands regularly with soap and water, staying home when sick, and covering coughs with tissues. Disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe is also encouraged.

EPA RESOURCE: Disinfectants to use against coronavirus

What is the situation in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Department of Health is closely monitoring COVID-19 cases and provides weekly updates here.

What about travel?

The CDC has a variety of resources for travelers, including information on airline travel, international travel, and current cruise ship travel.

Read updates from the following airlines on the virus:

KSTP’s complete COVID-19 coverage