How does coronavirus spread?
The CDC and World Health Organization say this virus may be spread through droplets of fluid that a person coughs or sneezes into the air. It may be spread if an individual touches a surface with the virus on it, such as a doorknob, railing or handle, and then touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, causes a respiratory (lung) infection. Symptoms of this infection include:
While most people recover from this kind of infection, some infections can lead to severe disease or even death. Older people and those with pre-existing medical problems, such as diabetes, cancer or other conditions that weaken the immune system, seem to have a greater risk for severe disease. So far, children and healthy adults appear to be at less risk of severe complications.
What are the treatments? Is there a vaccine?
Antiviral treatments are being studied, with some showing signs of effectiveness, but no specific treatment has been identified. However, supportive care to relieve flu symptoms generally may help relieve symptoms of COVID-19 as well. These include: rest, drinking lots of fluids, eating a light diet, staying at home and taking fever reducers and muscle ache relievers such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol).
Vaccine trials are currently underway and numerous pharmaceutical companies are in the process of developing potential vaccines. As of this time, it is possible one such vaccine may be available for the highest risk population in the near future, with the hope that a vaccine will be in more plentiful supply nationally in 2021.
The Influenza Vaccine is not effective in preventing COVID-19, but it is recommended that everyone who is eligible for a flu vaccination receive one in order to lessen the severity of this year's respiratory illness season.
How can I protect myself and others?
The same precautions to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against other respiratory viruses like COVID-19, including:
Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?
The Governor's office has mandated that masks must be worn in public places in Massachusetts, including retail establishments and any other location where individuals may congregate, and in these locations social distancing must also be followed.
How do you test a person for COVID-19?
To request a test, you must first call our COVID-19 hotline at 855-262-5465 (NOTE THAT OUR RECENT CALL VOLUME IS VERY HIGH DUE TO THE INCREASE IN POSITIVE CASES. PLEASE BE PATIENT).
BHS has testing centers located in all three sections of the county:
Pittsfield: 505 East Street - St. Luke's Square, adjacent to BHS Urgent Care
North Adams: 98 Church St.
Great Barrington: 10 Maple Avenue, Tent location near Fairview Hospital
Watch for these signs and symptoms: