COVID-19 FAQs - District Health Department 10
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What is COVID-19?

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
  • It is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.
  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.  Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. This occurred with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV and now with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why the concern?

  • COVID-19 is a new virus that has never been seen before that has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia
  • It is unknown how many people will get sick or how severe the illness will be
  • A person may be infectious before becoming symptomatic (showing symptoms) and can pass the virus to others without knowing
  • There is potential for the U.S. healthcare system to become overwhelmed with patients
    • There may not be enough medical supplies/facilities to care for everyone infected

What are the symptoms?

  • The common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • If any of the below emergency warning signs for COVID-19 are developed, get medical attention immediately:
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • Through person-to-person close contact:
    • Close contact is being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time;
      – or –
    • Having direct contact with infectious respiratory secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being sneezed or coughed on).
  • It may also be possible that COVID-19 can spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it
    • Based on the patterns of other coronaviruses- it has been suggested COVID-19 can survive on surfaces from hours to weeks (depending on humidity and temperature)

Examples of close contact include:

  • Caring for, living with or visiting someone who has COVID-19.
  • Being near someone who has COVID-19 in a confined space if that person is not
    wearing a mask.
  • Being coughed or sneezed on by someone who has COVID-19.

Who does it affect?

  • Anyone and everyone!
  • It is important to remember that stigma and discrimination occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a population or nationality. COVID-19 does not target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
  • Some people however are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19:
    • Older adults
    • Those with serious medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and lung diseases

How do you prevent the spread of COVID-19?

  • Follow the Governor Whitmer’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Executive Order
  • Wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth when in enclosed public spaces
  • Wash your hands often. Scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol between hand washing or if soap and water aren’t available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw tissue away and wash hands immediately
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly
    • Use 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water
    • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol

How many people have COVID-19?

What should you do if you have symptoms?

  • STAY HOME and separate yourself from people and pets in your home
  • Call your healthcare provider immediately to discuss your symptoms
    • If you do not have a healthcare provider, you may call your local urgent care
  • Monitor your symptoms, take your temperature regularly and note any changes
  • You can also look for a testing site using the Testing Site Look Up Tool.

Can my pet get COVID-19? Can they give it to me?
It may be possible that your pet can get COVID-19 – two cats have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in New York, however; there is no evidence that your pet can give the virus to you.

Until we know more, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

How is Public Health continuing to respond to COVID-19?

  1. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to learn more about antibody testing for COVID-19 through a pilot project with medical professionals and first responders in Southeast Michigan.
  2. Locally, Munson Healthcare in Traverse City is seeking plasma donations – learn more here. Spectrum Health is also taking plasma donations – learn more by clicking on the Convalescent Plasma Donation tab here.

Questions? Email us at or call the state hotline at: 1-888-535-6136.

For more information or facts about COVID-19, click here