Symptoms and Prevention
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. 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, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. It may also 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Cape Cod Healthcare is carefully monitoring the status of COVID-19 in conjunction 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?
According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update this list as more is learned about COVID-19. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
The CDC indicates that anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions, such as heart or disease or diabetes, seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
What is the difference between COVID-19 and Influenza (Flu)?
Although COVID-19 and Influenza (flu) are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and flu are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. According to the CDC, both COVID-19 and flu share similarities, but there are some key differences as well. While there isn't a vaccine for COVID-19 yet, the most common strains of flu are preventable with an annual flu shot (learn more about how to get a flu shot at capecodhealth.org/flu-clinics).
For more information about the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and Flu, see this helpful CDC comparison of COVID-19 vs flu.
What testing options are available at Cape Cod Healthcare?
Safe, efficient and accessible COVID-19 testing is available by appointment at Cape Cod Healthcare's two drive-through testing sites located on the campuses of Cape Cod Hospital and Falmouth Hospital. Testing is available to everyone, whether experiencing symptoms or not. A doctor's order is not needed, but an appointment is required. COVID-19 testing is also available without an appointment at all Cape Cod Healthcare Urgent Care centers for individuals who wish to be seen by a doctor for their symptoms. Learn more about our COVID-19 Testing Process.
Emergency Warning Signs of COVID-19 Infection
If you develop any of the following symptoms* get medical attention immediately.
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
* This list is not all symptoms. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
What preventive steps can you take?