What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a newly identified coronavirus that was discovered in late 2019 in China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause illnesses in people and others only circulate among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people. The virus causing COVID-19 may have emerged from an animal source, and it is now able to spread from person to person.
How does it spread?
The virus is thought to spread between people who are in close contact (within about six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It may also spread when one person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus is transmitted.
This coronavirus causes mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Some people may experience other symptoms, including muscle aches, headaches, a sore throat, or diarrhea. Evidence suggests that the incubation period for COVID-19 is between two and 14 days.
Diagnosis and Testing
At this time, coronavirus testing is limited to those who are critically ill. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, do not come to our clinics. To protect our patients and providers, we are not taking walk-in patients at this time for COVID-19 or other illnesses. Please contact your healthcare provider by phone so we can discuss a plan for your care.
There is no antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 may receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Patients may also be asked to self-quarantine at home in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
No vaccine is currently available for the coronavirus causing COVID-19. The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid exposure through simple precautions. Prevention steps include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
Enhanced visitor restrictions
To protect our patients from the flu and other common illnesses, we enforce visitor restrictions year round. Due to the presence of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we are taking additional precautions to ensure the health of our patients. Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we are implementing the following restrictions at our locations:
- We are no longer accepting walk-in patients. If you need an appointment, you must call to schedule it.
- No visitors are allowed on our clinic campuses. Only if necessary, one person may accompany a patient to a clinic visit. Someone who is sick or has known exposure to COVID-19 will not be allowed to accompany a patient.
- All visitors to our clinics will be screened for symptoms and COVID-19 risk at each visit. Watch for signs at the location you are visiting for more information. Visitors may be asked to wear a mask or leave the location for the safety of our patients and staff.
I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but need to schedule an appointment for another illness. What should I do?
Please call your clinic. In order to limit the spread of the virus, we may arrange for a phone visit. Do not come to the clinic without calling.
I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but have an appointment. What should I do?
If you’re worried about coming to the clinic, please call your provider to discuss.
I don’t have any symptoms, but can I receive coronavirus testing for my own peace of mind?
Supplies for lab testing are limited. We are unable to perform this kind of testing at this time.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.