2020 Coronavirus Outbreak – How Does It Effect West Chester, PA?
Recent news reports suggest the coronavirus outbreak in China could be a global health concern
International news reports in early January 2020 detailed a new illness emerging from Wuhan City in mainline China. It began affecting those living in the area, and the World Health Organization began to become concerned with it. It was a never seen before coronavirus, which was originally named 2019-nCov before being named COVID-19. This virus caused severe illnesses to many it infected. Unconfirmed reports on social media suggested that it was far worse than what was being reported. At the end of January, several major metropolitan areas in China were in total quarantine, and other regions had restricted movements by closing down public transportation. In some areas, businesses were asked to close for two weeks to slow the spread of the infection. Around the world, the health officials of various countries were monitoring their populations for infection. On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared this new coronavirus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Also, on January 30th, the State Department issued a Level 4: Do No Travel advisory asking all citizens to avoid travel to China and those in the country to depart immediately.
Many in the West Chester area have questions about this new coronavirus, COVID-19. Below are common questions we have been asked and the answers to them. This page on our website will be kept up to date as best as possible, but it is not updated in real-time.
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This page was lasted updated on 2/20/20
Are there any confirmed cases in West Chester, PA or West Chester University?
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States have been reported, but none are in West Chester, Chester County, or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Several people have been tested in the Philadelphia area, but there have been no positive results. The Philadelphia International Airport is one of many airports in the United States being monitored for the virus.
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus? How long do they take to appear?
The initial symptoms of the coronavirus are very similar to that of the flu, an upper respiratory infection, or a common cold. The symptoms include:
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Muscle Pain
This coronavirus, however, can develop life-threatening complications, including:
- Fever of over 100.4F
- Trouble Breathing or shortness of breath
Symptoms are thought to appear within two to fourteen days of infection. Doctors do not yet have a firm idea of what the average time is when symptoms start or if someone is contagious before they show signs an infection.
Can I be tested for a COVID-19 infection at AFC Urgent Care West Chester?
We cannot test you for COVID-19 at our health care center. Only the CDC can accurately check for the coronavirus at this time. AFC Urgent Care West Chester’s experienced staff can take samples and send them to the CDC for confirmation. Testing kits are in the process of being developed, but it is unknown when they will be available.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
Since this is a virus no one has seen before, there is no vaccine for it, and the flu shot you received this year will not protect you from it. While one is currently in development, it will likely not be ready for months or even years.
How does someone become infected from COVID-19?
Currently, it is believed this virus infected a human from an animal that remains unidentified. However, person to person transmission of the virus has been confirmed. It is also considered to be quite contagious. Coronaviruses spread through droplets that occur when you cough or sneeze.
I don’t feel well, and I have some of these symptoms. Am I infected? What are the risk factors for the COVID-19 coronavirus?
First and foremost, do not panic. It is unlikely at this time that you are infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. There are still other illnesses in the area, including the flu. Unless you have a higher risk factor for this infection, it is likely you have a cold, the flu, or an upper respiratory infection.
Some of the risk factors that put you at a higher chance of infection are:
- Traveling from China within the last 14 days, especially from Wuhan City.
- Contact with a person who has traveled from or through China in the last 14 days
- Contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus
If you fall into one of these risk factors and are showing signs of the symptoms mentioned above, immediately contact our urgent care center. Please speak with our experienced staff about your concerns and the symptoms you are experiencing. While we are a walk-in urgent care center, we do ask you to call ahead before visiting our clinic for medical care with a possible coronavirus infection. We need to prepare for your arrival with a possibly highly contagious infection. We will prepare for your visit so we can protect our staff, patients, and the public health.
How can I prevent an infection from COVID-19?
At this time, you do not need to take any special precautions beyond what you would do to prevent the flu. The guidelines to prevent infection are:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching surfaces and then your face
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Cover your nose and mouth if you feel sick
For additional protection
- Avoid live animal markets
- Cook food thoroughly
- Wear a surgical mask
Is the coronavirus related to SARS or MERS? Why is it called COVID-19?
COVID-19 is related to two other recent human coronavirus outbreaks: SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). A coronavirus causes all three of these infections. COVID-19 is more closely related to SARS, which also started in Asia, than MERS, which was first seen in Saudi Arabia.
Several years ago, the way new viruses and bacteria were named was changed. Previously, they were named after cities where they were first seen, like Lyme Disease, or after the animal the virus was traced back to, like Bird Flu. This naming convention causes fear and leads to misinformation. This virus was named 2019-nCov. “2019” for the year it as first detected and “nCov” because it is a novel, never seen before, coronavirus. The new name of COVID-19 reflects the year it was first detected (2019) and its new discovery. SARS-CoV-2 or “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” is a name that some scientists also use.
AFC Urgent Care’s walk-in clinic in West Chester is up to date with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease control. Do you have questions about the coronavirus? Feel free to call if you have any questions!