Is COVID-19 transmitted through food or food packaging?
What is a variant?
I live in Dallas County. Am I required to wear a face mask in public?
Yes, beginning April 17, anyone over the age of 2 are required to cover their face and nose with a cloth mask while in public.
For more information on Cloth Face Coverings click here.
How is it transmitted?
Coronavirus is primarily transmitted by coughing and sneezing by a person infected by the coronavirus. Surfaces touched by someone with the virus may potentially be infected. This is why it is important to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. In addition, it’s a good idea to avoid shaking hands and minimize your contact with public use surfaces such as lifting the gas pump handle with a paper towel or using your knuckle instead of your finger to turn of light switches.
What is social distancing?
While it may be disappointing to hear that so many sports events, cruises, festivals and other gatherings are being cancelled, there is a public health reason for these measures. These cancellations help stop or slow down the spread of disease allowing the health care system to more readily care for patients over time.
Cancelling events that are likely to draw crowds is an example of social distancing. Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.
Is it necessary to wear a facemask?
Updated on April 6th –
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Is it ok to travel?
The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel. If you need to travel take basic prevention precautions listed under the Precautions & Safety section.
What if I need something from the grocery store?
If you are able to get to the store, many local groceries are offering senior-only shopping hours, Dollar General, Target and Trader Joes are just a few. Call your local store and find out. If you cannot get to the store – if you are sick or have underlying health conditions, do you have family or friends who can help out? They can drop off supplies outside your door. If you’re online, this is a great time to try a service like Amazon. If you’re not online, call and ask a neighbor – or drop a note in their mailbox. We are seeing many communities draw together to support one another.
If I feel sick, how do I tell if it’s coronavirus or a different infection?
Coronavirus is related to common cold viruses. Symptoms are sore throat, cough, and fever. Some patients can have vomiting. You cannot tell the difference between coronavirus19 and other, more common viruses based on symptoms. This strain of coronavirus may be more virulent (causes a more severe illness) than most cold viruses.
Coronavirus symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have coronavirus or if you recently traveled from an area with widespread cases of coronavirus. Please don’t just walk in to your doctor’s office; they need to prepare for your arrival.
Prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and joint pains are not prominent features of coronavirus infection. If you have those symptoms in addition to cold symptoms, it’s more likely that you have influenza, or “the flu”. While it is recommended that you stay home if you have cold symptoms during this pandemic, you should call your doctor if you get symptoms that suggest the flu. Adults over age 65 or with other medical problems are at increased risk of complications from the flu. There are medications that reduce the severity of the flu if taken early enough. So you should call your doctor within a day of flu symptoms to see if it would be appropriate for you to get a prescription for antiviral medications.
How to prepare
It’s important to take precautions in advance in case you are required to stay in your home for an extended period of time. General emergency preparedness includes:
- Have a supply of food staples, bottled water, and household supplies like laundry detergent and bathroom items
- Make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications and other health supplies on hand, such as pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins
Did the IRS tax deadline change?
Yes, the IRS deadline to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020
How long does the coronavirus live?
A new study shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive in an aerosol form for at least 3 hours. An aerosol is something under pressure that can be released as a spray, like a sneeze or a cough. The virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 3 days, according to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine. How well it survives may depend on the surface it’s on. In the study, the virus lasted longest on plastic and stainless steel. It didn’t live as long on cardboard. Because the virus can live for hours to days, it’s especially important to keep items around you clean. Experts advise cleaning surfaces and objects you touch a lot, such as tables, door handles, faucets, toilets, handrails, and remote controls. You can use household disinfectants, a bleach solution, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Will COVID-19 go away when the weather gets warmer?
The virus is new, so it’s not known how warmer weather will affect it. Some illnesses (like the flu and colds) are more common in colder weather than warmer weather. But it’s not known if that will be true of this virus.
Can I get the coronavirus from food or water?
There’s no evidence that the virus can be spread through water or food. The virus is believed to be spread from person to person. This happens through close contact (being within 6 feet) and droplets when a person who has the virus coughs or sneezes. Experts also think it may be possible to get the virus by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. City water treatment disinfects water. While food doesn’t spread the virus, it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before you prepare food. It’s also important to disinfect surfaces like kitchen counters, tables, and objects that you touch.