COVID-19 FAQ

From the City of Stamford Department of Health

Q: What is a novel coronavirus?

A: The novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronavirus that commonly circulates among humans and causes mild illness, like the common cold.

Q: What is the source of COVID-19?

A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others only infect animals. Rarely, coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. More information about the source and spread of COVID-19 is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Q: How does the COVID-19 virus spread?

A: The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not the main way the virus spreads, but the CDC suggests that this is possible.

Q: Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

A: The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading person-to-person. We now know that infected persons can transmit the virus 48 hours before they have symptoms. This is why CDC recommends that all persons wear a facemask in public and persons are actively sick be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to be a risk to others.

Q: Can someone who has been quarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

A: Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease. Quarantine usually lasts for the span of time it would normally take people who have been exposed to develop illness. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the14 day period.

Q: Why might someone blame individuals and groups (create stigma) because of COVID-19?

A. Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem. Help stop stigma by learning and sharing facts about the COVID virus.

Q: How can I help protect myself?

A. The primary way to prevent infecting yourself is by wearing a facemask, washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and stay away from people who are sick.

Q: Is there a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19?

A. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 at this time. Do not ingest, inhale, or inject any household product or take anything that has not been prescribed for you by your healthcare provider. There is currently no vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus.

Q: What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

A: Close contact means:

a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for at least 10 to 15 minutes;

close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case

or -

b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)

If you think that you have had close contact with a COVID-19 case, self-isolate at home for 14 days. If you develop symptoms, call your medical provider and tell him or her about your exposure. There are separate guidelines for essential infrastructure employees.  If you an essential infrastructure employee, you should speak to your Human Resources Department.

Q: Does CDC recommend the use of a facemask in the community to prevent COVID-19?

A: CDC recommends that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19. Connecticut requires all people wear a facemask in public places. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility). Visit the CDC website for additional information on facemasks and guidance on how to construct them at home.

Q: What are the symptoms caused by COVID-19?

A: The common symptoms reported by patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

Q: Should I be tested for COVID-19?

A: If you develop any of the symptoms described above, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and ask for advice on testing. Your healthcare professional will work with you to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If your healthcare professional determines that you need to be tested, he or she will write a prescription for you to get a test and send you to a testing location. If you test positive, your positive test results will also be reported to the department of health and someone from the department of health may contact you with further instructions.  Information about testing sites and phone numbers is on the City of Stamford COVID website www.stamfordct.gov/covid19 

Q: I don’t have health insurance or a private doctor.  How do I get screened and tested for COVID-19?

A: You need to first call the City of Stamford hotline - 833-508-8378. They will refer you to one of the testing sites.  There are several sites in or near Stamford where you can get screened and evaluated for testing. The current sites are:

Q: What should I do while I am waiting on my COVID-19 test results?

A: While you are waiting on your test results, you should:

  1. Stay at home until your doctor contacts you with your results and advises you what to do
     
  2. If you live with someone in the home, you should stay in a room by yourself and if possible, have a bathroom assigned for your use only
     
  3. You should wear a mask if you must leave your room
     
  4. You should wash your hands with soap and water frequently
     
  5. The persons who live with you should also wear a mask and gloves and wash their hands frequently with soap and water
     
  6. Clean all surfaces in the home frequently
     
  7. Do not share eating and drinking utensils

Q: Do I need to be tested if my roommate was exposed to someone who had or has COVID-19? What if they are healthy and have no signs of infection?

A: No, you do not need to be tested because your roommate was exposed --  not you. However, your roommate should be observing himself or herself for signs of COVID-19 for 14 days. You should both be practicing social distancing, wearing a facemask when in the same room, washing your hands frequently, and cleaning all frequently touched surfaces in the home regularly.

Q: Can a person who was exposed to COVID-19 test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

A: There are currently several FDA approved tests available to detect infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.  In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus or antibodies to the virus will not be detected and you will test negative but as the infection progresses, you may later test positive.

Q: What should healthcare professionals do?

A: For recommendations and guidance on persons under investigation; infection control, including personal protective equipment guidance; home care and isolation; and case investigation, healthcare professionals should visit the CDC website. To report a case to the Stamford Department of Health, fax the report to 203-977-5506 or call 203-977-4398 during the work day. On weekends or after hours, call 203-977-5555 for urgent matters; for general questions call 211.

Q: What is the City of Stamford doing about COVID-19?

A: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the City is working closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and the CDC to provide updated information and to implement guidelines to protect the residents of Stamford. Please go to the City’s COVID-19 webpage at www.stamfordct.gov/covid19

Q: What can my school/daycare do to protect the children and staff?

A: Schools in Connecticut are currently closed. Your school should be using this time to thoroughly clean the school. Daycares should consider closing. Should the daycare choose to remain open, it should limit the number of children attending daycare to no more than 12; clean all high contact surfaces (e.g., door knobs, faucets, and railings) at least twice a day; with the exception of children under two (2) years of age everyone should be wearing a facemask, encourage staff and children to cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue into a waste paper basket; and wash or teach children to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol. Daycares should mount hand sanitizing stations through the building along with hand washing/sanitizing signs. Daycares should also request that staff and children who are sick stay home. Daycares should not allow staff and children who have a fever and flu-like symptoms back to school until all symptoms have stopped for at least 24 hours. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/comunity/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html

Q: Are other establishments in Stamford closed?  

A: As of June 17th, 2020, the state has entered Phase 2 of reopening. Phase 2 includes the reopening of the following businesses: restaurants (outdoor, indoor, no bar areas), hotels/lodging, all personal services, indoor recreation, sports, sports clubs/complexes, gyms, fitness centers, pools, outdoor arts, entertainment, events (limited capacity), amusement parks, libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, and social clubs. 

The reopening is accompanied by safegaurds, including: 

  1. Capacity limit of 50% for most businesses that reopen.
  2. Strict cleaning and disinfection protocols in all settings.
  3. Those who can work from home should continue to do so.
  4. Those in high-risk groups (comorbidities) and over the age of 65 should continue to stay safe and stay home. 
  5. Facemasks should continue to be worn in public at all times.
  6. Social gatherings will be restricted in accordance to the Governor's executive order.

For additional information on reopening rules, visit the State of Connecticut website. 

Q: Are mass gatherings and venues (for example, places of worship and amphitheaters) cancelled/closed?

A: As of June 17th, 2020, indoor private gatherings are limited to 25 people. For places of worhsip, if the space allows, up to 50 people are permitted; however, live-streaming services are highly reommended. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people. Outdoor event venues (e.g. ampitheaters, race tracks) may operate at 25% of Fire Capacity and distancing - consistent with outdoor amusement parks. Visit the State of Connecticut website for additional information on Phase 2 and Phase 3 (occuring in July) of reopening. 

Q: I live in an apartment building, should I be worried?

A: There is no evidence that living in an apartment building places you at increased risk of COVID-19. If someone in your building were to test positive, the Department of Health will work with the patient  to make the appropriate recommendations to prevent transmission. These recommendations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Am I at risk for COVID-19 in the United States?

A: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk of infection may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Q: Are there recommendations for travelers?

A: As of July 21, 2020, Governor Lamont's Executive Order No. 7111 mandates that anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher postivity rate over a 7-day rolling average are directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the lat contact within the identified state. In addition, anyone entering from one of the identified states must fill out a travel health form upon arrival. Travelers can fill out the form online at ct.gov/travelform.

Currently, these states include: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. Visit the State of Connecticut website for updates and additional information.

Additionally, while there currently are no state restrictions on international travel, the federal government continues to provide international travel recommendations for anyone living inside of the United States. For guidance on international travel, visit the "COVID-19 Travel Recommendations" section of the CDC website for updates.

The CDC is also requiring that persons who have traveled to CDC listed countries and persons returning from travel on cruise ships, even if they are well, stay home for 14 days after entering the U.S. and self-monitor for signs and symptoms of disease. If you develop signs and symptoms of COVID-19 you should call ahead to your healthcare professional and tell him or her about your symptoms and travel history.

Q: Am I at risk for COVID-19 from an imported or domestic package or product?

A: We still do not know a lot about how the COVID-19 spreads. However, based on what we know about other similar coronaviruses, there is likely a very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are domestic or imported.

Q: Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?

A: It is not yet known if weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when the weather becomes warmer.

Q: What risks do imported animals or animal products pose?

A: CDC does not have any evidence at this time to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. 

Q: Can I travel to the United States with pets during the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: The short answer is yes. However, please refer to CDC’s requirements for bringing pets into the United States.

Q: Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?

A: While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to avoid letting animals lick your face. You should always wash your hands after being around animals.

Q: Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

A: You should avoid contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19 until more information is known about the virus.  Recently, there was documented evidence of infection in large cats at the Bronx Zoo that acquired the infection from a sick animal handler.  When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you must care for your pets or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Q: What precautions should be taken for animals that have recently been imported into the United States?

A: Animals imported into the United States must meet CDC and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for entering the United States.  As with any animal introduced into a new environment, animals recently imported from outside of the United States should be observed daily for signs of illness. If an animal becomes ill, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. Call your local veterinary clinic before bringing the animal into the clinic and let them know that the animal was recently imported into the United States.

Q: Should I avoid animals and animal markets?

A: In the United States, there is no reason to think that any animals, including pets or livestock, might be a source of COVID-19 infection. If you are visiting a live animal market (e.g., a place where live chickens are sold) anywhere in the world, it is important to clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after visiting the market.

Q. What can I do to help the response to this emerging threat?

A. You can help by doing the following:

  • Orders and recommendations: Follow the City and State recommendations and orders that are intended to stop transmission.
  • Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home and keep your children at home when you or they are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. Call yours or your child’s medical provider and seek advice.
  • Wear a facemask: Wear a mask in public and when around persons who are visibly or suspected to be ill.
  • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
  • Travelers from affected countries: If you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of arriving in the United States from an affected country, please call your medical provider and tell him or her about your travel history.
  • Persons exposed to a person with COVID-19 AND who develop symptoms: Please contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
  • Have a family plan: Develop a family plan should you and or your family need to stay home for an extended period.
  • Have a business plan: Develop a business plan should you need to close temporarily or your workers are unable to come to work.
  • Healthcare providers: Be on the lookout for people presenting with a fever and respiratory illness who recently traveled to affected geographic areas (See the CDC website for the most recent listing of those countries). Take care of your own health and follow recommended infection prevention procedures. Report all suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to DPH and to the Stamford Department of Health.
  • Volunteer: Join the City’s Citizen Services Corps https://www.stamfordct.gov/stamfordctdohvolunteer. For more organizations looking for volunteers, visit "How to Help" on the City of Stamford website. 
  • Donate: The City of Stamford is requesting donations of personal protective equipment from businesses or individuals. If you wish to donate to the City, contact Jim Federici ([email protected] or call the office line, 203.977.4378). The City is in need of the following equipment, including but not limited to: N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, isolation gowns, and face shields. For more organizations accepting donations, visit "How to Help" on the City of Stamford website. 

For more information and answers to questions:

Call State of Connecticut’s 2-1-1 hotline that is available 24 hours a day OR text "CTCOVID" to 898211.

Call Stamford Health’s COVID -19 hot line; 203-276-4111
 

Visit the following websites:

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