About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
Symptoms of human coronaviruses may be very mild or more serious, such as: fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may also vary in different age groups. Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- temperature equal to or over 38°C
- feeling feverish
- fatigue or weakness
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of smell or taste
- gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
- feeling very unwell
Children have been more commonly reported to have abdominal symptoms, and skin changes or rashes. In severe cases, infection can lead to death. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.
Evidence indicates that the virus can be transmitted to others from someone who is infected but not showing symptoms. This includes people who:
- have not yet developed symptoms (pre-symptomatic)
- never develop symptoms (asymptomatic)
Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands
These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.
The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;
- avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands; and
- stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19,
- stay home to avoid spreading it to others. If you live with others, stay in a separate room or keep a 2-metre distance;
- call ahead before you visit a health care professional or call your local public health authority;
- call HealthLine 811 and tell them your symptoms and get tested;