What is COVID, what are its symptoms, how is it spread, and how do I prevent it? HealthCore has answers.
What Is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. COVID-19 was identified in December 2019 and is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a new virus in humans causing respiratory illness which can be spread from person-to-person.
According to the World Health Organization, many people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
Table of Contents
Looking for something specific? Click the links below to browse directly to a section on this COVID-19 resource page.
The Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) now has an online COVID-19 data dashboard on the Sedgwick County website. It features data from when the first case presented itself on March 6 to present time.
The dashboard is updated daily and includes the number of COVID-19 cases, recoveries, deaths, hospitalizations, illness onset, and cases identified by gender, ethnicity, and race. It allows residents to stay updated on the virus by combining all statistics in one location.
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. These droplets are released when someone with COVID-19 sneezes, coughs, or talks. Infectious droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. We recommend maintaining social distancing practices such as people staying 6-feet apart.
Respiratory droplets can land on hands, objects, or surfaces around people when a person coughs or talks. People can then become infected with COVID-19 from touching hands, objects, or surfaces with droplets and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
There can be transmission of COVID-19 through droplets of those with mild symptoms or those who do not feel ill (asymptomatic).
The best way to prevent and slow the transmission of COVID-19 is to be well informed about the virus, the disease it causes, and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face.
A wide range of symptoms for COVID-19 has been reported. These include:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Nasal congestion or runny nose
Muscle or body aches
New loss of smell or taste
Nausea or vomiting
The severity of symptoms varies from mild to severe. Early data says that most patients will recover spontaneously with some supportive care. Severe cases have resulted in respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction or failure, and death.
The estimated incubation period according to the CDC is between 2 and 14 days. It is important to note that some people become infected and do not develop any symptoms or feel unwell (asymptomatic).
I Have COVID-19 Symptoms. What Do I Do?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call us first at 316-691-0249. Do not walk-in, we will screen you over the phone first and walk-ins will not be allowed. Once you have been screened over the phone, you may be scheduled into our respiratory clinic to meet with a member of our respiratory team. Your provider may have you take a Covid-19 test and will provide you information and instructions on how to properly quarantine and address your symptoms. If you are in an emergency, please call 9-1-1.
No Symptoms of COVID-19?
Researchers say anywhere from 25 percent to 80 percent of people with COVID-19 are unaware they have the virus. This is called being “asymptomatic,” having no symptoms. People who are asymptomatic can still spread the virus to others who will be symptomatic. This large percentage of asymptomatic people allows the coronavirus to spread more rapidly throughout a community. This is why it is imperative that people wear face masks in public.
I Don’t Have COVID-19 Symptoms…But I Think I Have It
If you are asymptomatic and fear you have come in contact with the COVID-19 virus, you should self-quarantine immediately. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
It is important to note that COVID-19 is a new disease, therefore there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. In some cases, people who get COVID-19 can become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. These severe complications can lead to death. The risk of severe disease increases steadily as people age. Additionally, those of all ages with underlying medical conditions (including but not limited to heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease) appear to be at higher risk in developing severe COVID-19 compared to those without these conditions. As more data become available, additional risk factors for severe COVID-19 may be identified.
How To Prevent The Spread of COVID-19
There are a number of ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection. These include the following everyday activities:
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
Wear a mask or face-covering
Do masks work? Yes. The CDC recommends a cloth face mask for the public, not a surgical and N95 mask needed by healthcare providers. Coughing is thought to be a major contributor to the transmission of the virus.
Do masks prevent COVID? A face mask combined with other preventive safety measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the virus.
Stay at least 6 feet apart
Practice this social distancing safety measure around people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
6 feet is roughly 2 arms’ length. Combined with wearing a mask and frequent hand-washing, this is a very effective safety measure.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Remember that some people without symptoms can still spread the virus
Stay at home when you are sick
Cover your cough or sneeze
Use a tissue, then dispose of it properly
Wash your hands frequently
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20-40 seconds. Make sure you wash the front and back of your hands and get a good lather. You can hum the “Happy Birthday” song or say your “ABC’s” to make sure you wash for 20-40 seconds.
When you cannot wash your hands with soap, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Ensure you get both the front and back of your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Protection From COVID-19
Looking for protection from COVID? Here are some Coronavirus facts to help you protect against COVID.
Wearing a mask properly is very important. A mask should cover both your nose and mouth to help protect you and others. If it is pleated, the pleats should face downward.
Ensure your mask fits snugly against the sides of your face. Do not cross the ear strap loops to tighten as this creates a gap on the side of your mask where you can breathe contaminated air.
Do not touch your mask with your fingers. Your fingers may be contaminated with the virus which you spread to your mask. Only handle your mask by the loops.
Do not stow your mask in your pocket when not in use. Contamination can cross spread from hands, keys, wallets, and other pocket items.
Practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet apart from any people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
Avoid places where there will be other people. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. Seek alternatives to these locations by cooking at home, using pick-up/drop-off grocery services, and using online meeting software.
Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, particularly spaces that are not well-ventilated. Spaces that are properly ventilated with airflow have a lesser risk of spreading COVID-19, however, the best practice is to avoid these indoor spaces if possible. You may also find it is harder to stay 6 feet apart in indoor spaces.
Wash or sanitize your hands often. Some recommended times to wash your hands are:
Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
Before and after treating a cut or wound
After using the toilet
After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage
Wear A Mask
Wearing a mask or face-covering helps protect those around you.
Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. You should wear a mask, even if you do not feel sick. The main function of wearing a mask is to protect those around you, in case you are infected but not showing symptoms.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, your health provider may advise a COVID test. A diagnostic COVID-19 test can show if you have an active coronavirus infection and should take steps to quarantine or isolate yourself from others. Currently, there are two types of diagnostic tests: Molecular tests, such as RT-PCR tests, that detect the virus’s genetic material, and antigen tests that detect specific proteins from the virus. A COVID-19 test involves gathering a saliva sample by either nasal or throat swab.
If you test positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus), you should isolate yourself for 10 days after your symptoms began and ensure you have not had a fever for at least 3 days without the use of fever-reducing medication, and have had improving symptoms for 3 days.
If you test positive for COVID-19, close contacts need to quarantine for 10 days from their last contact with you. This duration of quarantine may be decreased to 7 days under certain conditions when tested negative at least 5 days from the last contact. If the positive case is a household member, the quarantine starts at the end of the positive patient’s isolation. Close contacts are anyone who lives in the same household or anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes within 6 feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19. The contact includes up to 2 days prior to the onset of the positive person’s symptoms. This close contact quarantine is only for patients who do not develop symptoms. If a close contact does develop symptoms, they must quarantine for 14 days.
If you live with a person of increased risk of severe illness, take added precautions at home to protect that individual according to CDC guidelines.
If you test negative, your healthcare provider may still ask you to self-isolate under certain circumstances.
If your symptoms worsen while self-isolating, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Moderate to severe symptoms may include shortness of breath or severe fatigue. If you are in an emergency, please call 9-1-1.
HealthCore Clinic has a respiratory clinic where we conduct drive-through and walk-up COVID testing. Please call us first at 316-691-0249. Do not walk-in, we will screen you over the phone first and walk-ins will not be allowed. Once you have been screened over the phone, you may be scheduled to meet with a member of our respiratory team. Your provider may test you for COVID-19 and will provide you information and instructions on how to properly quarantine and address your symptoms. If you are in an emergency, please call 9-1-1.
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 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.
Currently, care for patients with COVID-19 is primarily supportive. Care is given to patients to help relieve symptoms and manage respiratory and other organ failures. There are currently no specific antiviral treatments licensed for COVID-19, however many treatments are under investigation. Remdesivir, which is also an investigational drug, received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization for the treatment of hospitalized patients.
The federal government has been working since the start of the pandemic to make COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as possible. HealthCore Clinic, and other community health centers, are COVID-19 vaccination sites for Wichita.
Both the Pfizer Vaccine and Moderna Vaccine have shown essentially equivalent degrees of efficacy to reduce the risk of severe Covid disease. Despite similar production technologies, Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines have differences such efficacy, storage protocols, and availability. Both vaccines use mRNA technology to trigger an immune response instead of putting a weakened or inactivated germ into the body. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an efficacy of 66% and only requires a single dose. This vaccine is based on the COVID-19 virus’s genetic instructions for building what’s called a “spike protein.” Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which store the instructions in single-stranded RNA, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses double-stranded DNA.
Pain, swelling, and/or redness at the site of the injection
These side effects usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine. They might feel like flu symptoms that typically go away in a few days.
Is The COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. It does take time, and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue with organizations such as the CDC.
Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. Your arm may be sore, red, or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection against the disease.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews all safety data before recommending any COVID-19 vaccine for use.
FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, to make sure even very rare side effects are identified.
Should I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine
To receive the COVID-19 Vaccine from HealthCore Clinic you must meet the following requirements.
You must be a resident of Kansas who is age 16+
You can NOT have had a flu shot within 14 days.
If you have had the COVID-19 infection within the past 90 days, you are asked to wait until 90 days after the infection before receiving a COVID-19 Vaccine.
HealthCore Clinic has taken multiple steps to increase safety at our clinic including the development of a dedicated respiratory clinic, adding safety partitions, increased PPE, added risk assessments, increased preventative action, teleheath options, drive-thru/walk-up COVID-19 testing by appointment, and increased cleaning and sterilization of the facility as outlined by the CDC.
A mask or similar face covering is required to enter HealthCore Clinic and everyone will be screened at the door before being allowed to enter. There are exceptions to the face-covering requirement such as…
Children age five years or under; children age two years and under in particular should not wear a face-covering because of the risk of suffocation
People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face-covering—this includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face-covering could obstruct breathing
People who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
People for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
You will be allowed to remove your face-covering when receiving health attention involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face-covering is necessary to perform the service.