Symptoms and Prevention
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, 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.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation which Cape Cod Healthcare is carefully monitoring in conjunction with public health partners at all levels. We 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 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 will ask a series of questions 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 10am-4pm and closed on weekends.
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?
- Follow the Mass DPH Safer-at-Home Advisory guidelines.
- Practice social distancing. Keeping space (at least 6 feet) between yourself and other people when you do have to go outside of your home is one of the best ways we have to avoid being exposed to the virus and to help slow its spread in our community, country and world. Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others.
- Per state order, wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing is not possible. The CDC recommends this measure to slow the spread as it helps people who have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
- Protect yourself and others with prevention steps from the CDC.
- Maintain healthy habits and follow steps to keep your immune system strong.
- Follow important tips to clean and disinfect your home.