By Lynn Davison
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. The current pandemic is caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus. The source of the virus has not yet been determined. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 range from having little to no symptoms to mild respiratory illness, to severe life-threatening illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and can include fever, cough, shortness of breath. This virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This person-to-person spread is likely through close contact with respiratory droplets that are created when someone coughs or sneezes. People who are infected but do not have symptoms can transmit the virus. People over 60 years old, people with chronic health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.
What should you do?
Everyone should follow basic prevention practices to reduce spread of infection:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
High risk people (older adults, people with chronic medical conditions) should also:
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
If you have respiratory symptoms, stay home and call your health provider. In Patagonia, you can call the Mariposa Health Clinic at 520.375-5003.
The primary sources for this update are the World Health Organization (WHO), the US’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Arizona Department of Health, the Santa Cruz County Health Department, the Mariposa Community Health Center, and the Town of Patagonia.