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Coronavirus FAQ

What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and has spread worldwide. The new virus causes a disease known as COVID-19. The virus is part of a larger family of coronaviruses, which can lead to illnesses ranging from a mild common cold to more severe respiratory diseases such as SARS and MERS.

Who is at risk and what are the symptoms?

Public health experts say the new coronavirus is more contagious than the seasonal flu. The majority of people who become sick experience mild symptoms, but some become more seriously ill. People who contract the virus can develop pneumonia, and some have died. People who are elderly or have underlying medical issues are at greater risk of becoming more severely sick. Symptoms of the virus include a cough, fever and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

The North Dakota Department of Health advises that people call their health care provider to tell them about recent travel or exposure, and to follow their guidance. Try to avoid contact with other people in the meantime.

What can I do to prevent the virus from spreading?

The health department advises that people wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds. People who are sick should stay home from work or school, both to protect themselves and others with whom they would come in contact. Avoid touching your face, cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or an elbow, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, and avoid contact with people who are sick.

Where can I find more information?

People with coronavirus-related questions can call the state health department hotline at 866-207-2880. Those who need medical advice should contact their health care provider.

The health department’s online coronavirus page: www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s online coronavirus page: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

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