COVID-19 & Flu: Get the latest information

COVID-19 & Flu

COVID-19 Information

It is important to remember:

  • To prevent spread of disease, especially respiratory infections, please wash your hands, wear a mask in public, and stay home if you feel ill.
  • At this time, testing for COVID-19 is limited to those who meet criteria. Criteria include:
    • Symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea OR
    • Close contact, within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes and do not have symptoms
  • Not everyone who is tested has COVID-19. Patients who meet testing criteria are tested for COVID-19 as well as for other respiratory infections. The Virginia Department of Heath lists positive results by health district region. That website provides the accurate information on test results.
  • The strong majority (about 80%) of patients with COVID-19 are mild. They do not require hospitalization and recover on their own, just as many with the flu do not require hospitalization and recover on their own. Also like the flu, older adults and those with medical risk factors (such as chronic disease) are most at risk for a complicated case that might require hospitalization.

When to Seek Care

Protect Yourself

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, everyone should:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
  • CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

Call For Advice

If you are sick and think you have been exposed, call the Augusta Health COVID Care Call Center:
(540) 332-5122 We have a team of nurses answering calls Monday–Friday from 8am–4:30pm.

Seek Care

If you are sick and think you have an emergency, call 911.

Warning signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing/ shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Frequent Questions

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

SARS-CoV-2, previously referred to as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a virus that can be spread from person to person. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the virus COVID-19. It was first detected in Wuhan, China, and has quickly spread throughout China and is confirmed to be present in other countries.

Is Augusta Health prepared to receive and treat patients with coronavirus?

Yes! Augusta Health has been working with state, regional, and local healthcare coalition partners to care for patients suspected or known to have the coronavirus. This collaboration with those partners to communicate, coordinate, monitor the current state, and the share resources and best practices. Augusta Health has a response plan in place to care for patients suspected to have the coronavirus. This plan includes a number of procedures for: assessment of patients arriving at the emergency department or ambulatory locations, patient isolation, team member safety and health, investigation and testing, and the cleaning and disinfecting of the physical environment. With the combination of healthcare coalition partnerships and an up-to-date response plan Augusta Health is ready to care for suspected coronavirus patients while protecting our team members and community.

Is coronavirus more deadly than the flu?

Currently, the average flu mortality rate for the past several years is 0.1%, compared to Coronavirus (COVID-19) which is currently rated at 2.9%.1 The highest risk patients for complications related to COVID-19 are similar to those patients that are at higher risk for influenza complications. This higher risk population includes the elderly, as well as patients with weakened immune systems. For patients with COVID-19, the main treatment is "supportive care". Patients may need to be supported with supplemental oxygen or whatever means necessary to be stabilized during their illness. In addition, appropriate treatments for the symptoms such as fever would be administered.

Does having a flu shot help protect against Coronavirus?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.2

Is it really that important to wear a mask in public?

In light of data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public, including during travel. Masks slow the spread of COVID-19 because they help keep people who are infected from spreading respiratory droplets to others when they cough, sneeze, or talk. Medical masks and N-95 respirators are for healthcare workers and other first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning, and other everyday preventive actions.

How can I protect and guide employees about COVID-19?

The Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers by the CDC specifically speaks to workplaces with lots of information. The big take a ways are:

  1. Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
  2. Perform routine environmental cleaning
  3. Separate sick employees until employee can be sent home
  4. Conduct daily health checks
  5. Conduct a hazard assessment of the workplace
  6. Implement policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace
  7. Improve the building ventilation system

Does Augusta Health have test kits for COVID-19?

Yes.

Should I be worried about traveling or attending events?

It is impossible to predict if a specific individual will get COVID-19 and when that will happen. The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:

  • Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings.
  • More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear masks, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).
  • Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area.
  • Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.

How much will I have to pay for a Coronavirus test?

Per the provisions in the newly passed CARES act, insurance plans are required to pay the full amount for the Coronavirus test with no out of pocket cost to patients. For patients without insurance, the cash price of the test is $75. The cash price already includes our 50% self pay discount.

References

1 John Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, Mortality Analyses
2 Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2020-2021 Season