COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Coronavirus, or COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, so people most likely have no immunity to it. It causes a respiratory illness ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to severe pneumonia.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to what someone may get from a seasonal illness, such as the flu (fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, and a decrease in smell or taste). 

Most people with COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms. The groups most likely to suffer severe illness are people older than age 60 and those with medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes. Children and adolescents appear to be less likely to experience severe illness.

There is currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment for COVID-19.

  • What is an Antigen test?

Antigen Tests: COVID-19 antigen tests are rapid diagnostic tests that detect specific fragments of the virus. Like PCR tests, they are very specific to the SARS-CoV2 virus and detect active infections. Antigen tests can often be performed at point-of-care facilities. While all test results must be reported, as of July 10, 2020 some facilities had not yet fully implemented reporting for all negative antigen tests.

 

  • What is a PCR test?

PCR Tests: COVID-19 PCR tests detect viral genetic material and are used to diagnose active infections.

 

  • What is an Antibody Test?

Antibody Tests: COVID-19 antibody tests, also called serological tests, detect the presence of antibodies to the virus in blood samples. They are typically used to identify people with prior infections. There is a lag between infection and antibody production by the immune system, so antibody tests usually cannot be used to detect active infections.

  • Why is there a rise in local COVID-19 cases?

The TriCounty Health Department team of contact tracers have termined the main cause for the rise in positive COVID-19 cases in the tri-county area to be community-acquired transmission, otherwise known as community spread. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

  • How is the virus spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
  • By respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

  •  Are there any specific Medications to prevent or treat COVID-19?

Currently, there are no specific medicines or vaccines for the new virus, and antibiotics do not work either (they fight off bacteria). Most people get better on their own. Scientists are working to develop a vaccine, but this will have to be tested in trials first, so it could be some time before it is ready. Scientists are also conducting studies to determine if medications already on the market could be effective in treating COVID-19. Treatment is only to manage symptoms, such as drinking lots of fluids, getting plenty of rest, etc. 

  • Is COVID-19 more dangerous than Influenza (flu)?

COVID-19 is especially dangerous because we don’t have a vaccine to prevent it or treatment for it. COVID-19 appears to be more infectious than influenza.

Everyone should get an influenza vaccine when they become available this fall. The challenge with the new coronavirus is that we are continuing to learn more about the virus, such as how it spreads and how it can be contained. COVID-19 is serious and public health officials are taking the possibility of widespread disease very seriously.

  • Should I wear a face mask?

The CDC now recommends wearing homemade cloth face masks if you have to leave home for essential errands like getting groceries or medicine, or if you must be in a place where social distancing is not possible. It is important to wear a cloth face mask when you are out of your home because you don’t know who the other people in a store have been in close contact with. 

You can help your community if you make your own mask. There are not enough surgical masks (such as the ones used in doctors’ offices) and N-95 respirators for all of the healthcare workers to take care of patients with COVID-19. Please try to leave these masks for healthcare workers. 

Cloth face masks should not be used for children younger than age 2. Cloth face masks should not be used by anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or anyone who cannot take off the mask without help. 

The CDC has more tips and instructions for how to make a homemade mask at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

  • My employer is making me get a doctor’s note to return to work.

The Utah Department of Health does not recommend employers require a doctor’s note or negative COVID-19 test to return to work.

  • Do I have to do anyhthing different when serving food at a temporary event?

We recommend and encourage all temporary food set ups to have hand sanitizer available, have a barrier separating the public from the food worker, if possible. We encourage the use of face coverings/masks. Maitnaining social distancing in lines and use single package condements.