Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is now available to take COVID-19 calls from Arizona providers and the
general public: 1-844-542-8201
LEARN MORE ABOUT NOVEL CORONAVIRUS:
HOW IS PINAL COUNTY RESPONDING:
Pinal County Public Health staff is investigating any travelers returning from China to ensure they are not
experiencing signs and symptoms
Pinal County Public Health has written response plans in place
HOW TO PREPARE AND TAKE ACTION FOR COVID-19:
COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is a coronavirus?
- Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.
- In humans, several coronaviruses are known to circulate in the community and cause respiratory infections
ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
- The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and
disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
- It is part of a larger family of viruses called coronavirus, some of which are in circulation normally and can
cause illnesses like the common cold.
- You can learn more about coronavirus disease 2019 at the
How does COVID-19 spread?
- People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.
- The disease can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when
a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.
- These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person and can cause disease during a short period of
time. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or
- People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales
droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 3 feet away from a person who is sick and to cover your
mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
- The “incubation period” means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease.
- Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around five days. These
estimates will be updated as more data become available.
Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be transmitted through the air?
Studies to date suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with
respiratory droplets rather than through the air. See previous answer on “How does COVID-19 spread?”
Can COVID-19 be caught from a person who has no symptoms?
The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of
catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low, but this information may change with further
investigation. Health officials are assessing ongoing research and will continue to share findings. However,
many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the
disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and
does not feel ill. Health officials are assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and
will continue to share updated findings.
Has anyone in the United States gotten infected?
The first COVID-19 case in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The first confirmed instance of
person-person-spread with this virus in the U.S. was reported on January 30, 2020. See the
current U.S. case count of
Can I catch COVID-19 from the feces of someone with the disease?
The risk of catching COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person appears to be low. While initial
investigations suggest the virus may be present in feces in some cases, it is unclear if the virus can be
contagious through this route. Therefore, spread through this route is not a main feature of the outbreak.
Health officials are assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share new
findings. Because this is a risk, however, it is another reason to clean hands regularly, after using the
bathroom and before eating.
How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other
coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may
persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type
of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).
If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself
and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching
your eyes, mouth, or nose.
Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?
Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the
virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions
and temperature is also low.
What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?
Protection measures for everyone:
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. Most people who become infected
experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and
protect others by doing the following:
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if there are no
washing facilities available.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your
- Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may
contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the
person coughing has the disease.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to
your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and
nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from
viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and
call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health
facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
- Visit the
Prevention and Treatment
page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.
Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is
- Follow the guidance outlined above. (Protection measures for everyone)
- Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until
Check the guidelines for following social distance and self-isolation here.
Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate
more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
- If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a
respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or
contact with travelers.
Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health
facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
Should I wear a facemask in the community to prevent COVID-19?
Currently, health officials do not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from
respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends
it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others
from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for
and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings(at home or in a
health care facility).
Should I worry about COVID-19?
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not travelled from one of those areas or
have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are
Follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Although for most people COVID-19 causes only mild illness, it can
make some people very ill. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre-existing
medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes) appear to be more vulnerable.
Who is at risk of developing severe illness?
While we are still learning about how COVID-19 affects people, studies suggest that infants less than 5-years
old, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease,
or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.
Should I be tested for COVID-19?
Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in
close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area
with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Your healthcare provider will work with the local health department and ADHS to determine if you need to be
tested for COVID-19.
How do you test a person for COVID-19?
- Arizona State Public Health Laboratory
- In consultation with the local public health department, clinicians should assess patients using clinical
criteria for a COVID-19 person under investigation (PUI) and obtain a detailed travel history for patients
being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness.
- Commercial Testing
- Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with
COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested using clinical criteria for a COVID-19 person under
investigation (PUI). Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology
of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness.
Based on clinical presentation, consider the need for higher level of care based on standard criteria for
community-acquired pneumonia or bronchitis (e.g., hypoxia, tachypnea, lethargy).
Currently, only patients with these criteria will be tested for COVID-19 at the Arizona State Public Health
For more information on specimen collection see
CDC Information for
Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?
Using the CDC-developed diagnostic test, a negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not
found in the person’s sample. In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected.
For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that the
COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?
No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a
virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of
COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a potential bacterial co-infection.
Are antivirals effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?
No. Currently, there are no antivirals that have been identified to work effectively against the COVID-19. Health
officials continue to research drug treatments.
Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?
Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However,
those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most
patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover
your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from people who are
coughing or sneezing. For more information, see basic protective measures against the new coronavirus.
Is COVID-19 the same as SARS?
No. The virus that causes COVID-19 and the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 are
related to each other genetically, but they are different. SARS is more deadly but much less infectious than
COVID-19 AND CHILDREN
ARE CHILDREN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19 COMPARED WITH THE GENERAL POPULATION AND HOW CAN
INFECTION BE PREVENTED?
No, there is no evidence that children are more susceptible. Although infections in children have occured, most
confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. From what is known about previous novel
coronavirus outbreaks such as the SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV outbreaks, infection among children was relatively
Children should engage in usual preventive actions to avoid infection, including washing hands often with soap
and water for 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable, avoiding
sick people, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza vaccine.
CDC’s current risk assessment
and prevention measures for more information.
DOES THE CLINICAL PRESENTATION OF COVID-19 DIFFER IN CHILDREN COMPARED WITH ADULTS?
There have been few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19. From what is known, children
with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms, with rare instances of severe complications.As with
other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such
as children with underlying health conditions.
ARE THERE ANY TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR CHILDREN WITH COVID-19?
Currently, there are no antiviral drugs recommended or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for
CDC’s prevention and treatment measures
for more information.
COVID-19 AND ANIMALS
Can humans become infected with the COVID-19 from an animal source?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in animals. Rarely, people get infected with these
viruses which may then spread to other people. For example, SARS-CoV was associated with civet cats and MERS-CoV
is transmitted by dromedary camels. Possible animal sources of COVID-19 have not yet been confirmed.
To protect yourself, such as when visiting live animal markets, avoid direct contact with animals and surfaces in
contact with animals. Ensure good food safety practices at all times. Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs
with care to avoid contamination of uncooked foods and avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products.
Can I catch COVID-19 from my pet?
No. There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread
the virus that causes COVID-19.
Is there anything I should not do? The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be
- Taking traditional herbal remedies
- Wearing multiple masks
- Taking self-medication such as antibiotics
In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early
to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with
your health care provider.
Is it safe to travel to China or other countries where COVID-19 cases have
- The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to certain countries. For an
up-to-date list, please see
- The CDC is advising travelers to avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead) and animal markets. The
CDC recommends washing hands often during travel.
- The situation is evolving. These notices will be updated as more information becomes available.
What if you recently traveled to China or other countries where COVID-19 cases have occurred and now you feel
If you are experiencing a fever, cough, or shortness of breath and have recently traveled to China within 14 days
of symptoms, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them
about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others while sick.
- Avoid travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an
alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
CDC does have additional
for travelers available online.
PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE
What is PINAL COUNTY doing about COVID-19?
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and Pinal County Public Health will continue to provide updated
information as it becomes available. The Pinal County Public Health Services District works 24/7 to protect
HOW PINAL COUNTY IS RESPONDING:
- With establishment of community spread of COVID-19, the public health departments in Arizona are moving from an
individual containment approach to a community mitigation approach. The goal moving forward is to slow the
spread and reduce its level of impact on the population. This may mean leaning less on isolation and quarantine
and more on community non-pharmaceutical interventions, including social distancing.
Pinal County Public Health has written response plans in place and have activated their operations center.
MYTHBUSTERS REGARDING COVID-19