Coronavirus Outbreak House Calls: Molly Hyde, MHS, CIC, GBMC Infection Control Practitioner
As the COVID-19 virus is spreading, it’s important to know fact from fiction. To help answer your questions, WMAR-2 News hosted house calls for members of the public to ask healthcare experts about the current COVID-19 situation. Molly Hyde, MHS, CIC, Infection Control Practitioner at GBMC, discusses how the virus is spread from one person to another.
Is the coronavirus new?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses with seven different strains: SARS, MERS, COVID-19, and four others that cause the common cold. Coronaviruses in general are not new, but the COVID-19 strain is. Most people have been exposed to some kind of coronavirus in their lifetime.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets – tiny droplets coming from the mouth or nose that contain the virus. When an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs, those droplets come out of their respiratory airway and can infect someone else through direct transmission.
The virus can also be spread indirectly through contaminated objects. This happens when the droplets land on inanimate objects, where the virus can live for several days. Anyone who touches that object and then subsequently touches their face may be exposed.
Does having other illnesses like the flu or bronchitis make me immune to COVID-19?
No. All of these are separate diseases and your immune system responds to each one differently.
How do I know if I have COVID-19?
Because the symptoms are very similar to the flu and other respiratory illnesses, it’s difficult to know if someone is infected with COVID-19 without diagnostic testing. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of tests available in the United States at this time. The best course of action is to stay at home and call your primary care provider or the Maryland Coronavirus Hotline at 211.
Can an asymptomatic person spread the virus?
It’s very difficult to tell whether someone who isn’t having symptoms or who has recovered and is no longer having symptoms is able to pass the virus to others. There are instances where people believe that asymptomatic transmission is occurring, but we can’t tell how much it’s driving the transmission of the disease.
Viral particles have been detected in patients who have recovered from COVID-19, but we’re unsure whether they are infectious or if they are simply pieces of the dead virus. We are still learning about this disease and there is a lot we don’t know.
Do young people need to worry about COVID-19?
This virus is something that everyone needs to worry about. While the illness is much more severe in older patients, young patients can still become infected and experience flu-like symptoms. Young people need to do their part in limiting the spread of the disease by practicing social distancing.
Everyone should do their best to avoid becoming infected regardless of their age group.
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