COVID-19 is the disease caused by a novel (new) strain of a coronavirus that was identified in December of 2019. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses such as the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Scientists have named this new virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the disease it causes, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Initial cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December of 2019. Since then, the virus has spread rapidly and is affecting people on a global scale including the United States.
As it stands, the complete clinical picture is not fully known of COVID-19. Public health groups, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are working with scientists and doctors to learn more and regularly updating information on their websites.
This list does not include all possible symptoms, for the most up to date list, visit the CDC’s website. Cases of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and some may have no symptoms at all. In many cases, symptoms become more severe during the second week of illness, so regular phone or telehealth check-ins with a healthcare provider are recommended during this stage.
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, our COVID-19 response team is here to help. Our telehealth services through Galen Remote Access Care have been put in place to address your needs at a distance while also providing the best possible care.
Currently, our area is experiencing ongoing community spread, and any close contact with someone who may have or have been exposed to COVID-19 increases your risk.
Older adults and those of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or otherwise weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 infection.
Since there is currently no vaccine available to prevent infection, the best way to prevent infection is to prevent exposure. COVID-19 spreads person to person through tiny droplets of snot or sputum called “respiratory droplets.” These droplets are expelled from the mouth or nose of an infected person when he or she coughs, sneezes, or even breathes and talks. Droplets can infect another person through direct transmission– by landing directly on another person’s face, eyes, nose, or mouth– or can be transmitted indirectly from landing on surfaces we touch. This is where social distancing and practicing hygiene come into play.
The most critical step in preventing the spread of this dangerous virus is hand washing. Thorough and frequent hand washing– for at least 20 seconds with soap and water– is by far our best defense against COVID-19. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol as an alternative. Galen has implemented policies for staff across all our offices to ensure hand hygiene is maintained.
Make sure to wash especially:
Avoid touching the eyes, nose, mouth, and face with unwashed hands, as these areas are the pathways through which the virus enters the body. Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough and sneeze.
Avoid close contact with others as much as possible and especially anyone who is sick or is actively coughing or sneezing. It is strongly recommended to stay at least 6 feet apart from others especially in public areas. We at Galen have made sure to implement our physical distancing policy for our patients and staff across all offices. Even those who are infected but not showing symptoms of the virus can still infect others. Stay well and stay away!
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others and in public settings. Even if you do not feel sick, you could spread COVID-19 to others. The CDC strongly recommends that masks be worn in public areas, when you are around people not living in your household, and especially when it is difficult to maintain physical distancing. A mask or cloth cover is not a substitute for physical distancing—continue to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Do not place face coverings on children under the age of 2 who may have trouble breathing or unable to remove the mask without assistance. Please do not use masks that are meant for healthcare workers as they are critical for first responders.
Galen is working hard to meet the medical needs of patients during these uncertain times. We are working with the appropriate agencies and have implemented policies to properly care for all our patients while maintaining their health and safety. Our team of providers has developed a procedure for COVID-19 testing that starts with a simple phone call to our COVID-19 Hotline at (423) 618‑9006.
See how we are keeping our Galen Family—our patients and staff—safe by reading our policies and services.