Tompkins County COVID-19 Response News Conference
Watch the news conference with County Administrator Jason Molino, Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa, and Cayuga Health CEO and President Dr. Marty Stallone as they discuss the county preparedness for COVID-19.
Frequently Asked Questions
This information is intended to provide our community with an update about the COVID-19 virus. The information surrounding this outbreak changes daily – sometimes hourly. We will continue to monitor this situation closely with daily reports and exchange of information between all parties and will attempt to keep our community up to date on any new developments.
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness. It’s caused by a coronavirus called 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). There are many types of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a very common cause of bronchitis. They may sometimes cause lung infection (pneumonia). Symptoms can range from mild to severe respiratory illness. These viruses are also found in some animals. COVID-19 was first found in people in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. In 2020, several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S. COVID-19 is a rapidly-emerging infectious disease. This means that scientists are actively researching it. There are information updates regularly. Visit the CDC website for the latest information.
What causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Public health officials are working to find the source. How the virus spreads is not yet fully understood, but it seems to spread and infect people fairly easily. Some people who have been infected in an area may be unsure how or where they became infected. The virus may be spread through droplets of fluid that a person coughs or sneezes into the air. It may be spread if you touch a surface with virus on it, such as a handle or object, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Who is at risk for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
You are at risk for infection if you’ve been to a place where people have been sick with this virus. You are at risk if you:
- Recently traveled to an area with a COVID-19 outbreak
- Had contact with a person who was diagnosed with or who may have COVID-19
- Had contact with a sick person who recently traveled to an area with a COVID-19 outbreak
What are the symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Some people have no symptoms or mild symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after contact with the virus. Symptoms can include:
- Trouble breathing
The symptoms of COVID-19 can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. He or she will also ask about your recent travel and contact with sick people. If your healthcare provider thinks you may have 2019-nCoV, he or she will work closely with your local health department and the CDC. Follow all instructions from your healthcare provider. 2019-nCoV is diagnosed by:
- Nasal and throat swab. A cotton-tipped swab is wiped inside your nose or throat. This is done to check for viruses in your nasal mucus.
- Sputum culture. A small sample of mucus coughed from your lungs (sputum) is collected if you have a cough. It is checked for the virus.
How is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treated?
There is currently no medicine to treat the virus. Treatment is done to help your body while it fights the virus. This is known as supportive care. Supportive care may include:
- Pain medicine. These include acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They are used to help ease pain and reduce fever.
- Bed rest. This helps your body fight the illness.
For severe illness, you may need to stay in the hospital. Care during severe illness may include:
- IV (intravenous) fluids. These are given through a vein to help keep your body hydrated.
- Oxygen. Supplemental oxygen or ventilation with a breathing machine (ventilator) may be given. This is done so you get enough oxygen in your body.
What are possible complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
In many cases, this virus can cause infection (pneumonia) in both lungs. In some cases, this can cause death, especially in elderly people or people who have medical conditions.
What can I do to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
There is no vaccine yet. The best prevention is to not have contact with the virus. The CDC advises that people should not travel to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks right now for any reason that is not urgent. For the most current CDC travel advisories, visit the CDC website.
The CDC advises that you shouldn’t wear a face mask if you are not sick.
To protect yourself from COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and clean, running water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Make sure it has at least 60% alcohol.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have clean hands.
- Don’t have contact with people who are sick.
- Follow local instructions about being in public. For example, you may be told to not use public transport for a period of time.
- Experts don’t know if animals spread 2019-nCoV. But it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after touching any animals. Don’t touch animals that may be sick.
- Don’t share eating or drinking tools with sick people.
- Don’t kiss someone who is sick.
- Clean surfaces often with disinfectant.
If you were in an area with COVID-19 in the last 14 days:
- Call your healthcare provider. He or she can talk with local health staff to see what action may be needed.
- Follow all instructions from your provider.
- Take your temperature every morning and evening for at least 14 days. This is to check for fever. Keep a record of the readings.
- Keep watch for symptoms of the virus. Tell your provider right away if you have symptoms.
- Stay home if you are sick for any reason.
If you were in an area with COVID-19 and have a fever or other symptoms:
- Stay home.
- Don’t panic. Keep in mind that other illnesses can cause similar symptoms.
- Stay away from work, school, and public places. Limit physical contact with family members. Don’t kiss anyone or share eating or drinking utensils. Clean surfaces you touch with disinfectant. This is to help prevent the virus from spreading.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw away the tissue in the trash. Or cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
- Call your healthcare provider. Explain that you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms. Do this before going to any hospital. Wait for instructions.
- Wear a face mask.
- Keep in mind that healthcare staff may wear protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection. You may be put in a separate room. This is to prevent the possible virus from spreading.
- Tell the healthcare staff about recent travel. This includes local travel on public transport. Staff may need to find other people you have been in contact with.
- Follow all instructions the healthcare staff give you.
How to manage coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Stay home. Don’t leave your home unless you need to get medical care.
- Follow all instructions from your healthcare provider.
- Call your healthcare provider’s office before going. They can prepare and give you instructions. This will help prevent the virus from spreading.
- Don’t go to work, school, or public areas.
- Don’t use public transport or taxis.
- Stay away from other people in your home.
- Wear a face mask. This is to protect other people from your germs.
- Don’t share household items or food.
- Cover your face with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away. Then wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often.
- Follow all instructions from healthcare staff.
- Wear protective clothing as advised.
- Make sure the sick person wears a mask.
- Wash hands often.
- Keep track of the sick person’s symptoms.
- Clean surfaces, fabrics, and laundry thoroughly.
- Keep other people away from the sick person.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
Call your healthcare provider:
- If you’ve recently traveled and have symptoms
- If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and your symptoms are worse
Key points about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness. COVID-19 was first found in people in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. In 2020, several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S.
- It is caused by a type of coronavirus called 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The virus may be spread through droplets of fluid that a person coughs or sneezes into the air. It may be spread if you touch a surface with virus on it, such as a handle or object, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- If you’ve been to a place where people have been sick with this virus, you are at risk for infection.
- Symptoms can include fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. In many cases, this virus can cause lung infection (pneumonia).
- There is currently no medicine to treat the virus. Treatment is done to help your body while it fights the virus. This is known as supportive care.
- If you were in an area with COVID-19 and have a fever or other symptoms, stay away from other people. Call your healthcare provider. Explain that you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms. Do this before going to any hospital. Wait for instructions.
- If your healthcare provider thinks you may have COVID-19, he or she will work closely with your local health department and the CDC. Follow all instructions from your healthcare provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.