With COVID-19 now a world-wide pandemic, people are asking many questions.
How do I get it?
And what symptoms will show up?
First, COVID-19 is spread by close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands. Droplets spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can be infected by touching an object with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
As for the symptoms, they include fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
The available information suggests the incubation period is up to 14 days — the time from when a person is first exposed until symptoms appear.
"Due to the heightened awareness over COVID-19, many people are asking to be tested for the illness. It is not necessary for all people to be tested," stated provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. "This is cold and flu season, which is what the vast majority of ill people within our health care region are likely to have."
Testing is occurring at a number of community locations. Some physicians and nurse practitioners are able to test in their offices, but you must call ahead first to discuss appropriate steps. Some patients will be referred by appointment to a health-care facility in their community for testing, which is a throat swab.
"If you think you may need to be tested, call 811 or your local clinic or family doctor where you will be assessed by a series of questions," added Dr. Henry. "It’s important to call ahead to allow health care facilities to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Testing is taking place to contain the illness and protect populations who are most at risk of getting sick. That population is primarily elderly people and/or those with underlying health conditions.
If it’s an emergency and only if you need care urgently, call 911.
For more information, go to healthlinkbc.ca/health-feature/coronavirus-covid-19