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We have had many questions regarding COVID-19 and thought this might be time to address some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions that aren't listed below, please feel free to reach out to us at We will do our best to respond to your questions in a timely manner.

*** Reminder, S.C.A.R.F. does NOT provide medical advice regarding the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. These FAQs are meant to provide an informational and educational resource. ***

What exactly is COVID-19? Is this really a new virus?

COVID-19 is a new virus that has not previously been identified. It was named because CO (corona), VI (virus), D (disease), and 19 (founded in 2019). It is believed to have originated from an animal source, though this has not been officially confirmed.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, it has also been known to have a GI component which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some patients are also reporting an altered sense of taste and smell.

How do I know if I'm a high-risk person in terms of catching this virus?

Those that are highest risk are the elderly, those with immunosuppression, or those with underlying medical conditions. These underlying conditions can include heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, blood disorders, neurologic disorders, metabolic and endocrine disorders, and even pregnancy!

What precautions should I take to limit my chance of catching coronavirus?

STAY HOME when possible. If you must leave home, practice social distancing (meaning keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others)

Maintain strict hand and respiratory hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or any part of your face. If you do have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or use your elbow.

Avoid contact with anyone who may be sick.

Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home including counter tops and door knobs.

Should I wear a face mask if I'm out in public?

At this time, the CDC has changed their recommendation and is recommended that anyone going out in public cover their face with a mask or other cloth. This is especially true in locations where social distancing may be difficult (grocery stores and pharmacies).

This does not mean that you need to wear surgical masks or N-95 respirators as these should be saved for healthcare providers and first responders.

How many people are infected with Coronavirus? How many people have died?

These numbers are frequently changing. The most up to date and accurate information can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by visiting:

I have spring break plans, should I still go?

It is recommended that all travel be cancelled or postponed. This will help limit the spread of the virus from person to person as well as from place to place.

When and where should I get tested?

If you believe you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or if you are exhibiting concerning symptoms, you should speak with your primary care provider.

Do NOT go to the nearest emergency room or urgent care. It is best to contact your PCP who can help determine if you are a candidate for testing. (S)he will also help you determine the best treatment plan for you given the severity of your symptoms.

I've been having symptoms and think I might have COVID-19. What should I do?

STAY HOME! Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and patients are able to recover at home without significant medical intervention. That being said, you should call your primary care provider to discuss your symptoms and follow their instructions regarding treatment or potential further work-up.

While at home, try to isolate yourself from others for at least 14 days. Designate a "sick room" for yourself and keep others in the home away. If possible, use a separate bathroom as well. Avoid sharing linens such as towels.

If you must leave home to seek medical attention, wear a face mask if possible. Stay away from others, keeping at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others.

Follow all instructions provided by your primary care provider.

What are the potential complications of COVID-19?

The most serious complication is a type of pneumonia called 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia (NCIP). However, cardiac concerns remain very serious. Complications can include arrhythmias, cardiovascular shock, heart damage, heart attack, myocarditis, and rapid onset of heart failure.

I have pets, could they get infected too?

In the U.S., there have been no reports of pets infected by COVID-19. Outside of the U.S. there has been a very small number of pets reportedly affected.

We currently do not have evidence to support the idea that pets can spread COVID-19. However, it is always smart to practice proper hygiene around all pets and animals. This includes washing your hands after handling animals, their food, or waste. Clean up after your pets properly. Call your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions.

If you do become sick, you should isolate yourself from your entire household, including your pets. Have other members of your household care for these animals until your symptoms have resolved.

This is all causing significant worry and anxiety in my life, what should I do?

It is completely understandable to feel this way at this time. Everyone reacts to stress differently, so try not to compare yourself to others. It is important to work to minimize your stress and inflammation levels during this pandemic.

If you are feeling very overwhelmed and feel like wanting to harm yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 immediately. If you feel that your anxiety and stress levels are interfering with your daily life, contact your primary care physician. They may recommend new medications or adjustments to your current regimen.

Some other ways that you can support yourself during this time include:

  • remain physically active when possible

  • take time to do activities that you enjoy which could include participating in a favorite hobby, reading, watching TV, doing a puzzle, etc.

  • continue to connect with others so that you don't feel as isolated. With the technology of today, this can be via e-mail, phone call, video chat, etc.

  • get outside, weather permitting. Fresh air and sunshine (while wearing sunscreen of course!) while maintain social distancing can boost morale

How can I make sure my kids are staying healthy and happy during this pandemic when they aren't able to get to school or see their friends?

Everyone, children included, react differently to stress and anxiety. However, there are some signs that could be concerning for significant anxiety in your child. These include:

  • excessive crying

  • significant change in eating or sleeping habits

  • unexplained headaches or other body pains

  • irritability or "acting out"

  • avoidance of activities that they previously enjoyed

  • a regression of habits including wetting the bed

You can support your child(ren) at this time in many ways. These can include:

  • lead by example - maintain a healthy diet, physical activity level, social connection, etc.

  • talk to them in ways they can understand about the current situation

  • assure them that they are safe

  • encourage them to talk to you with any questions or concerns they have

  • try to keep their routines stable when/where possible

  • limit their viewing of news coverage

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