COVID-19: Get the latest information, visitor restrictions, and service changes


Educational health information to improve your well-being.

Posts in Infectious Disease

Older adult patient wearing a mask and getting her temperature checked

COVID-19 Asymptomatic Carriers and Antibody Tests

April 23, 2020

As experts work to slow the COVID-19 spread, they focus on issues such as learning how the virus spreads, determining who has the virus, and learning who has developed immunity. Because it's a new virus, but linked to other viruses, these answers are complex. Allison Baroco, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist at Augusta Health, and Stefanie Bartley, BSN RN an Infection Prevention Specialist, discuss two important concepts—asymptomatic carriers and antibody tests. What is an asymptomatic carrier? How many asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers do we have? "An asymptomatic carrier is someone who has...Continue Reading

Mother and child sitting on couch watching TV

What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

March 31, 2020

Isolation and quarantine are two different terms that some are using interchangeably during the COVID outbreak. It's important to understand the difference. Isolation Isolation refers to separating sick people with a contagious disease from those who are not sick. Hospitals use isolation for patients who have a known infectious disease that can be spread easily to others. A person, who finds themselves ill with COVID-19 , needs to isolate themselves in a specific room away from other household members. Household members should use a separate bedroom and even a separate bathroom if possible...Continue Reading

Woman cleaning a bathroom sink wearing rubber gloves

Is There a Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

March 24, 2020

We're all concerned about germs and the spread of viruses today—so it's important to ask, "What's the difference between cleaning a surface and disinfecting it?" Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt from surfaces. Cleaning will not kill germs; it simply removes them or reduces the number of germs in order to lower the risk of infection. Disinfecting is a process that uses chemicals to kill germs. In order to eliminate COVID-19 and reduce the risk of spreading the virus, the CDC recommends that hard surfaces be cleaned AND disinfected frequently using household cleaners and EPA-...Continue Reading

Father checking the temperature of her daughter who is bundled in bed

Cold vs. Flu vs. COVID-19

March 23, 2020

*/ Information about the symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus are prevalent in the tradition and social media, so it's important to look at the differences between the COVID-19, flu, and common cold. Flu season is still in full force, affecting millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that flu activity is high and is expected to continue for several more weeks. The common cold, flu, and coronavirus are all infectious viruses that affect the respiratory tract. All three are spread person-to-person and through direct contact with droplets either in...Continue Reading

Father and son playing basketball

Why Do We Social Distance?

March 20, 2020

The idea of 'social distancing' may not be something you have heard of until the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. You see many people posting on social media what they are doing to social distance. So, what is social distancing? The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible." The most recent recommendation is to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. So, then, why is it so important to practice social distancing and to take it seriously during times like...Continue Reading

Nurse speaking with a senior patient

The Difference Between COVID-19 Screening and Testing

March 19, 2020

We have seen confusion in the community about screening and testing for COVID-19. Lets take a look at the difference and learn why some people may be tested while others are not. What is screening? Screening for COVID-19 is a series of questions asked to determine a person's risk for COVID-19. They include questions about symptoms being experience, travel history in recent weeks, and exposure to someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19. Right now, all entrants to Augusta Health (patients and support persons) are screened. After screening and consulting with Virginia Department of...Continue Reading

3D rendering of bacteria

What is an Infectious Disease?

January 23, 2020

An incalculable number of bacteria and other microorganisms live in the places we work, play, and travel. They even cover our skin and live in our intestines! Most of these, however, are effectively harmless to us. Some are actually beneficial. So What's the Difference? The difference between these and an infectious disease is where and how they live. An infectious disease means a foreign organism is living inside the body where it shouldn't, causing damage to the body's cells. These pathogens (disease-causing agents, such as bacteria or a virus) try to feed on cell nutrients, destroy body...Continue Reading

Close-up of a tick on clothing

Beware of These 4 Tick-Borne Diseases

August 21, 2018

It’s hard to believe that such a small creature can wreak such havoc, but tick-borne diseases are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tick-borne diseases have more than doubled in the last thirteen years. From avid outdoors lovers to people outside for their daily activities, everyone is at risk for a tick bite. Read on to learn more about the most common tick-borne diseases and how to prevent tick bites. Lyme Disease Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease. In fact, eighty-two percent of people with a tick-borne disease are diagnosed with Lyme disease...Continue Reading

Doctor giving a vaccine to a patient in his arm

Must Have Travel Vaccines: Don't Leave Home Without Them

July 19, 2018

You've researched, planned, and packed your bags! You're heading off to experience new places, cultures, and adventures. While a passport and plane ticket will get you there, travel vaccines will keep you healthy while you're there. Getting the right travel vaccines can ensure you stay happy and healthy on your next vacation! Vaccines expose your body to weakened parts of a disease. It may seem counterintuitive, but this process prompts your body to create antibodies to the disease. These antibodies will protect you if you're ever exposed to the full-strength disease. Other countries may have...Continue Reading

Sick woman laying on the couch

CDC Predicts Flu Epidemic to Continue

February 27, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared this flu season an epidemic. A flu breakout qualifies as an epidemic when the number of cases increases quickly and infects more people than normally expected. The flu epidemic has touched every state in the continental U.S. and began earlier than past flu seasons. Massive numbers of people are flocking to doctor's offices and hospitals for treatment, and the flu is contributing to an average of 4,000 deaths a week. Unfortunately, there are still many weeks left in this year's peak flu season, and the flu epidemic may continue...Continue Reading