According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals and humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to 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.

In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. This novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus that has not been previously detected in animals or humans. The source of this virus is not yet known.

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Signs and Symptoms

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Human coronaviruses usually cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

In some cases, COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness.

Should I See a Doctor or Nurse?

If you have a fever, cough, or trouble breathing and might have been exposed to COVID-19, call your doctor or nurse. You might have been exposed if any of the following happened within the last 14 days:

  • You had close contact with a person who has the virus.
    This generally means being within about 6 feet of the person.
  • You lived in or traveled to, an area where lots of people have the virus.
    The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information about which areas are affected.
    This can be found on their website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
  • You went to an event or location where there were known cases of COVID-19.
    For example, if multiple people got sick after a specific gathering or in your workplace, you might have been exposed.

If your symptoms are not severe, it is best to call your doctor before you go in. They can tell you what to do and whether you need to be seen in person. If you do need to go to the clinic or hospital, you will need to put on a face mask. The staff might also have you wait someplace away from other people.

If you are severely ill and need to go to the clinic or hospital right away, you should still call ahead. This way the staff can care for you while taking steps to protect others.

Your doctor or nurse will do an exam and ask about your symptoms. They will also ask questions about any recent travel and whether you have been around anyone who might be sick.

Informational Resources

Lompoc Valley Medical Center encourages you to stay informed. Please use the links below for additional information. The CDC updates its website regularly as more information becomes available.