FAQs & Additional Information

What You Need to Know

Essentia Health continues to monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak -- now known as COVID-19 -- which originated in December 2019 in China’s Wuhan City in the Hubei province. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization March 11, 2020. COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory illnesses and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

“Most people with COVID-19 can recover at home,” said Dr. Rajesh Prabhu, an infectious disease physician at Essentia Health. “They won’t require hospitalization or even medical care. But we are prepared for those who do require a higher level of care.”

The circumstances of this global outbreak change every day. Essentia Health hospitals and caregivers are trained to manage emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, with a high level of care and compassion.

Up-To-Date Information

Get the Latest COVID-19 Info

Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19?

The virus that causes the COVID-19 disease is a novel (new) coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. This new coronavirus was initially linked to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. From there, the virus has spread person-to-person and via “community spread,” which indicates unknown exposure. Illnesses range from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Most COVID-19 illness is mild.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

People with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Some patients have had other symptoms including chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, nasal congestion, nausea/vomiting, or loss of taste or smell. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

How does it spread?

The virus is thought to spread mostly from person-to-person within six feet, either between people who are in close contact with one another or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest.

How should you protect yourself?

Wear a mask, especially indoors and in public places. Practice social distancing of at least six feet. Wash your hands often, and for at least 20 seconds at a time. Hand sanitizer works, too. Avoid contact with those who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue and regularly clean and disinfect high-touch areas.

Do you need a mask?

Essentia has implemented universal masking in all of our facilities. Patients, visitors, and staff need to wear a mask at all times inside any of our facilities.

We ask that you please come with your own mask. If you don't have your own, we will provide one.

It is also recommended that everyone wear a mask in public places.

What should you do if you think you might have COVID-19?

Schedule a COVID-19 test.

Older patients and those with severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, seek care immediately.

What should you do if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are?

  • Stay home if you are ill, except for medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Call ahead before visiting your health care provider
  • Wear a face mask around others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash hands often
  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily

Who can I talk to about other COVID-19 questions?

Contact your state department of health if you have additional questions or concerns.

  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 651-201-3920
  • North Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 866-207-2880
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services: 800-947-3529

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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