Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. Cape Cod Healthcare is working with public health partners at all levels and will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.
What are the symptoms of the COVID-19 infection?
Patients with confirmed infection from the COVID-19 virus reported:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
People who have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or people who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread are at an increased risk of exposure.
Similar to other respiratory illnesses like the flu or a cold, severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at risk of serious illness.
What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
CALL your doctor
To prevent further spread of infection, do not go directly to your doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency centers - contact your primary care physician by phone first. Based on your symptoms, your doctor’s office will ask a series of questions about your health, travel and close contacts to confirm if you need to be tested. If you have a Cape Cod Healthcare affiliated physician and your doctor determines you should be tested, he or she will submit a doctor’s order to the testing team and you will be called with an appointment for drive-through testing at Cape Cod Community College. Learn more about our COVID-19 Testing Process.
If you are experiencing symptoms and do not have a primary care physician, call the dedicated call center at 508-862-5595 to be screened for COVID-19 testing with a Cape Cod Healthcare clinical provider via phone. If testing is required, the clinical provider will follow the same process of submitting the doctor’s order to the testing team and you will be called with a testing appointment time. Please note: the call center line is open Monday-Friday from 8am-7pm and Saturday-Sunday from 8am-4pm.
If you are experiencing SERIOUS symptoms and do not have a primary care provider, please visit the triage tents located outside of Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital for screening. As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.
Emergency Warning Signs of COVID-19 Infection
If you develop any of the following symptoms* get medical attention immediately.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
* This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Social Distancing and other steps you can take
The Whitehouse has released guidelines [PDF] on social distancing for all Americans. Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. Learn more about how you can do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Here are important steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family: CDC – How to Prepare
How do I stay informed?
Here are a few helpful resources to stay up-to-date: