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Posted on: March 18, 2020

What you should know about COVID-19

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What You Should Know About COVID-19

Stop the Spread, Call Ahead

Tests are available in Bay County. Persons who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call ahead to their doctor’s office and contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County (FDOH) at (850) 872-4455 for screening to determine if they meet testing criteria and for direction on where to be tested.

Symptoms

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Florida Department of Health recommends everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Covering your cough or sneezing into a tissue, then disposing of the tissue
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Social Distancing

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people
  • Do not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings

Wear a Cloth Face Covering

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Sign-up for Health Alerts

Text Bayhealth (one word) to 888777 to sign up for health alerts from the Florida Department of Health in Bay County.

Key Resources

Please visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19. This remains the best and most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida. A county-by-county dashboard is also available through the website with case data.

For questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

Florida Department of Health (DOH) - http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

Travel Advisory from U.S. Department of State - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html/

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