Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-19 is a new strain that originated in Wuhan, China and has spread around the globe. Common signs of infection have appeared 2-14 days after exposure and include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Person-to-person spread has been confirmed and is thought to occur mainly through people in close contact with one another (within about 6 ft) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or exhales. Currently the Florida Department of Health recommends you protect yourself and others with frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, and social distancing. Here are some other key facts to know*:
- COVID-19 has been reported in all US States, including Florida. Community spread has been confirmed in Florida. Check the current status of spread in the US on the CDC website and the spread in Florida on the FDOH 's Florida COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.
- Beginning 3/20/20, Orange County Florida has instituted a curfew between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am. Exceptions will be made for essential personnel or those traveling to work.
- A 30 day stay-at-home order has been issued for Florida, and all counties within it, beginning April 3rd. Please visit the Orange County Government response page or the Florida Governor website for latest updates and a list of businesses considered essential
- Check local responses to the virus and latest recommendations on the Florida Department of Health website, the Florida Governor's website, the Orange County Government website, and the City of Orlando website.
- CDC guidelines for protecting yourself from getting sick can be found on their Prevention and Treatment page. The CDC is now recommending the use of cloth face masks. Details on how to create and properly use these mask can be found here.
- Those suspecting they may be sick with the virus should follow the CDC's guidelines.
- If you are sick and exhibiting symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should seek treatment with your primary care physician or urgent care center. It is recommended that residents call their provider before visiting their clinic. The Orange County government is currently recommending that residents only visit the ER in cases of medical emergency to avoid overwhelming the hospital systems. Check the Orange County newsroom for latest updates.
- The Orange County Convention Center parking lot will be opening as a drive-through testing center March 25th. A drive-through location is open in East Orange County by appointment only (Call 1-866-779-6121 for an appointment). A site has also opened at UCF for appointment only (Call 855-282-4860 for an appointment). These sites will be available to those showing symptoms of COVID-19 only. Check the Orange County government page for updates.
- The Orange County Public School system is offering Grab-and-Go meals for students. Details can be found on the OCPS website.
- There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available, however research is currently ongoing. Check the WHO website for updates.
- You may have heard terms such as "social distancing", "flattening the curve", and "self quarantine" recently. Learn what the terms mean and why they are important with this article from John Hopkins Medicine.
- The CDC is currently recommending that travelers avoid non-essential international travel. Further details can be found on the CDC website page for travelers. Older travelers and those with chronic medical conditions should reconsider all non-essential travel.
- The Florida Department of Health has established a COVID-19 Call Center to answer general questions residents and visitors may have. The phone number is 407-723-5004. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can also email questions to COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org
- Residents of Orange County Florida can also call 407-723-5004 with questions or concerns.
If you are concerned about your risk of becoming infected, the CDC has a useful questions and answers page addressing common concerns.
*This information was obtained from the CDC, WHO, FDOH, and John Hopkins Medicine websites.
(Last updated on 4/9/2020)