Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions & Concerns
I may have some symptoms but I’m not sure if it’s COVID-19.

I may have some symptoms but I’m not sure if it’s COVID-19.

Our new, online diagnostic screening tool may help. Just answer a few questions and it will offer some guidance about your symptoms and information on what you can do. No information about you is collected. You can share the screening results with your healthcare provider, who can help you determine the best course of action. Try it now!

I have or need an appointment with a healthcare provider, but I don’t want to actually visit an office.

I have or need an appointment with a healthcare provider, but I don’t want to actually visit an office.

You may be able to get the care you need without leaving home. Hartford HealthCare’s doctors, medical professionals and behavioral health experts now offer virtual visits online or by phone. Contact your Hartford HealthCare Medical Group or Behavioral Health Network provider by phone or through MyChartPLUS message. They will determine whether you will be best cared for through an in-person, phone or virtual visit. Or call 1.833.621.0600.

I’ve been nervous and anxious about this whole pandemic.

I’ve been nervous and anxious about this whole pandemic.

It’s a stressful time, and it’s normal to need emotional or behavioral health support. That’s why the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network has a number for people to call, 24/7. To request a call back, call 1.833.621.0600.

What if someone I know has a real medical emergency, like a heart attack or stroke?

What if someone I know has a real medical emergency, like a heart attack or stroke?

Call 911. First responders and emergency personnel are ready to assist as usual.

And if it’s not an emergency?

And if it’s not an emergency?

Connect with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care provider, via video, from wherever you are in Connecticut with the convenience of a mobile device, tablet or computer. Visit HartfordHealthCare.org/GoHealth.

Where do I get more information so I can stay up to date on Coronavirus?

Where do I get more information so I can stay up to date on Coronavirus?

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Sign up for text alerts by texting COVID19 to 31996.

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Call our 24-hour Community Care Center hotline at 1.833.621.0600.

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Visit our website at HartfordHealthCare.org/coronavirus. You will find a lot of information on this site, including videos, news items and links to reliable resources.

(Download this list of common questions and concerns)


More Frequently Asked Questions
 

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What is coronavirus?

It’s a large collection of viruses that can cause something as mild as the common cold but is better known in recent years for outbreaks of two far more serious diseases, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The 2003 SARS epidemic in China, believed to have started with small mammals, infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in 774 deaths. SARS symptoms resemble the flu, with fever, sore throat, breathing difficulties, body aches and diarrhea. No SARS cases have been reported since 2004.

But MERS, a new coronavirus, emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 with symptoms similar to SARS. It has since spread to other countries, including the United States. This disease is characterized by fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province in central China, has been identified as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Scientists are still trying to determine its origins. Early reports pointed to a possible animal-to-person transmission, perhaps from a market that sold seafood and live animals. The Chinese government closed the market Jan. 1.

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How many cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the U.S.?

For the most up-to-date numbers, view our Coronavirus Dashboard or the visit the CDC website.

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What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms, according to the CDC, include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some people have shown no symptoms. But the virus can cause serious illness and even death.

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How is it diagnosed?

Blood tests and laboratory tests on respiratory specimens can identify coronaviruses. Initially, all samples in the U.S. were sent to the CDC for testing, but a Food and Drug Administration expedited approval now allows the use of state health labs.

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Why is it called coronavirus?

Under an electron microscope, the virus looks like the sun’s corona — the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere.

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How contagious is the coronavirus?

It’s possible to get the coronavirus by coming in close contact with an infected person — defined by the CDC as about 6 feet or in the same room — for an extended period or direct contact with infectious secretions.

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How can people avoid coronavirus?

Take the same precautions as you would during flu season. The best way to prevent the spread this new virus, is to cover your cough, stay home when you’re sick and avoid being within six feet of others who might be sick.

Read these guidelines for self-isolation and social distancing.

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Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Read more mythbusters from the World Health Organization.

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Who is most vulnerable to COVID-19?

People with weaker immune systems, such as older adults and young children.

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Where was the first reported case in the United States?

The CDC confirmed the first case Jan. 21, 2020 after a Washington state man in his 30s reported symptoms after returning from a trip to the Wuhan region of China. He returned Jan. 15, two days before passenger screening began at three major U.S. airports.

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Is there a vaccine that can prevent people from getting the coronavirus?

No, but officials with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious disease hope for a quick turnaround by drugmakers because Chinese scientists sequenced the virus’ genome — its hereditary information — so quickly. The first clinical trial in the United States, a University of Nebraska Medical Center evaluation of the antiviral drug remdesivir in adults diagnosed with coronavirus, was confirmed Feb. 25 by the National Institutes of Health.

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I recently recovered from COVID-19. Can I donate convalescent plasma?

Convalescent plasma, a type of passive immunity, offers a patient antibodies that are available immediately which the immune system can use to fight a virus. The Journal of the American Medical Association in March reported the dramatic improvement of five critically ill COVID-19 patients on ventilators in Shenzen, China, after receiving plasma treatments. Three were discharged eventually discharged while the others' condition stabilized.

If you have recovered from the coronavirus and are at least 18 years old, and are in good health after a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of infection, you're eligible to become a plasma donor.

Learn more about convalescent plasma donation

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Is COVID-19 considered as severe as SARS and MERS?

No, at least not yet. About 2 percent of people with the coronavirus have died (compared with 10 percent with SARs and 35 percent with MERS). Most of the people who have died from the coronavirus were older (over 60), had other illnesses and were not hospitalized until the advanced stages of their illness.

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How does coronavirus compare with the flu?

With at least 29 million cases, 280,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths in the U.S. during the current season, according to the CDC, flu sounds like much more of a health risk. It’s the coronavirus’ uncertainty, and lack of a vaccine, that concerns public health officials. But the coronavirus death rate is up to 10 times higher, with no predictable beginning and end to the season, like flu.

Because of similarities in symptoms, screenings conducted at Hartford HealthCare facilities can help determine the difference between these viruses.

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What are the current travel restrictions because of the coronavirus?

The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel. It also recommends older adults with chronic medical conditions consider delaying travel plans altogether.

Follow the latest travel guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Are there visitor restrictions or closings at any of Hartford HealthCare facilities?

Yes. Hartford HealthCare has canceled community education classes, volunteer activities, and other programs. In addition, visitor restrictions are in place, and the number of entrances to its hospital facilities have been reduced.

Learn more about visitor restrictions and closings.

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Are patients and visitors screened before entering Hartford HealthCare facilities?

All patients and visitors coming through the main entrance to our facilities will be subject to a screening protocol. This protocol is updated frequently. Some of the questions you may be asked prior to hospital entry are:

  • Have you traveled recently and where did you travel? Have you been on a cruise ship in the last 14 days?
  • Do you have, or have had over the last 48 hours, symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, or cough?
  • Have you had exposure in the last 14 days to anyone with flu-like symptoms, i.e. fever, shortness of breath, coughs or recently been quarantined or treated for COVID-19?
  • Are you under the age of 18?
  • Patients will also have their temperature taken.*

*If screeners determine that a visitor is a potential health risk, that person will not be allowed to visit the hospital and will be asked to consult their personal health provider for further guidance.

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Does Hartford HealthCare offer drive-through testing?

Yes, Hartford HealthCare offers drive-through testing for COVID-19.

Learn more about drive-through testing, including locations and times.

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What if I have a doctor's appointment?

If you have an upcoming doctor's appointment at one of Hartford HealthCare Medical Group's doctor offices or clinics, please follow these safety rules designed to protect patients, staff and guests. Download the safety rules.

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What if I'm pregnant?

This is an unusual time in health care and we are committed to doing everything in our power to keep you and your baby safe.

Read our maternity FAQs.


Get push notifications!

You can receive text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.
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Questions about the coronavirus? Need Emotional Support?
 

Sometimes people need a bit of emotional support. You can get that assistance any time of day or night by calling 1.833.621.0600, Hartford HealthCare’s Community Care Center hotline. Experts from our Behavioral Health Network are available to help with managing feelings and emotions, mental health concerns, substance use issues, and any medical issues and concerns about COVID-19. They may also help schedule follow up appointments, if needed.

Learn more at hhcbehavioralhealth.org/support


Not feeling well? Schedule a Virtual Visit
 

Virtual Health, also known as telehealth or telemedicine, is a convenient option for many patients and a variety of conditions. Hartford HealthCare is committed to keeping our patients and providers connected now and in the future.

Learn more at hartfordhealthcare.org/virtualhealth

Coronavirus/COVID-19