WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS? HOW SERIOUS IS IT?
A coronavirus is one of a cluster of diseases named because it resembles a crown when viewed under a microscope. Coronaviruses vary in severity—some producing symptoms similar to a common cold, and others more dangerous, especially to people who are vulnerable because of age or health status. COVID-19, a more severe coronavirus, has recently spread to many countries including to the United States. To quell the spread of the virus, Governor Scott has declared a state of emergency in Vermont and has implemented several restrictions.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? CAN IT BE TREATED?
Those affected may develop a fever, dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. Less common symptoms are sneezing and sore throat. Some people have reported losing their sense of smell as an early symptom. Some people have no symptoms at all but can still pass on the virus. While the virus can’t be treated, your symptoms can—for example, some people need help with breathing when they have particularly bad cases. At least 80 percent of infected patients will experience minor symptoms and recover as they would from any cold or flu.
HOW LIKELY AM I TO GET IT?
The Vermont Department of Health has now determined that COVID-19 is spreading through our community and that new cases are not necessarily linked anymore to Vermonters who have visited other countries or other states. It is likely that eventually, 20 to 40 percent of the population will have contact with the virus, which is highly contagious. Governor Scott has ordered that all Vermonters stay home for all but essential tasks; this will slow down the spread of the disease and reduce your likelihood of contracting it.
IS THE STATE OF VERMONT PREPARED FOR THIS? ARE MY LOCAL HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS EQUIPPED WITH THE RESOURCES AND EQUIPMENT THEY NEED TO BE READY?
Gov. Scott and his team are working around the clock to ensure Vermont and its agencies and resources are prepared. The state is working hard with our provider community to share vital information and prepare for the spread of the virus. Hospitals have taken measures, such as limiting visitors to their facilities, to protect patients and communities. Governor Scott has also suspended all non-essential adult elective surgery and medical and surgical procedures, a move that many hospitals had already implemented. You can find updated information about the virus by visiting healthvermont.gov or by calling 2-1-1.
ARE VERMONT’S LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES (NURSING HOMES) READY TO RESPOND TO COVID-19?
The Health Department is focused on ensuring its most vulnerable populations are protected and is working to update guidance continuously and address emerging needs of long-term care facilities as new information becomes available. Long-term care facilities are limiting visitors in compliance with requirements in Vermont’s emergency declaration.