Last updated: September 28, 2020
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This was a new virus that had not caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in over seven 32 million human infections, causing illness and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The widespread virus, which has caused over 200,000 United States deaths, has been reported in Anne Arundel County, Maryland with more than 9,900 cases and over 200 deaths.
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is a global pandemic. Federal, state and local governments are taking a comprehensive approach to keep Marylanders safe. For Maryland and Anne Arundel County confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, check the Maps. To slow the spread of COVID-19 and get the country back to normal, individuals will need to practice social distancing when in public (at least 6 feet away from others), wear face coverings in public, and practice healthy hygiene measures including frequent handwashing.
Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.* Based upon available information to date, those most at risk are listed at Medical Conditions and COVID-19.
*NOTE: No one is safe from contracting this virus. It is possible for children, young adults and healthy individuals to get COVID-19 and spread it to others.
COVID-19 is spread just like colds or flu through:
- coughing and sneezing, which creates respiratory droplets
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it
Symptoms (Most Common):
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- In more severe cases, pneumonia (infection in the lungs)
NOTE: Symptoms usually appear within 2-14 days from time of exposure. Sometimes there are no signs or symptoms. Infected people without symptoms can still spread the disease. If you have concerns about any symptoms or possible exposure, call your health care provider or get tested. Free Testing Clinics: AAHealth.org/covid19-testing
Most people recover from this infection. Close to 80 percent will have mild or moderate symptoms. People with any symptom are advised to get tested within 48 hours of symptom onset. For no-cost testing sites click here. Most people who have a mild case are advised to recover at home for at least 14 days and isolate themselves from others. These individuals should call their physician or clinic if their symptoms get worse. There is also no specific medicine currently to cure COVID-19 because it is a new disease. However, people who have COVID-19 should get medical care to lessen the severity of symptoms.
Some COVID-19 infections can lead to serious illness, and in some cases death. If someone has a more serious illness from COVID-19, they may be admitted to the hospital. Older people and those with pre-existing medical problems have a greater risk for serious illness. Examples of pre-existing medical problems are cancer, diabetes, heart disease, COPD or other conditions impacting the immune system’s ability to fight germs.
There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. It is important to take everyday preventive steps that are always recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like colds, flu and COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using standard cleaning practices.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve, or your elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home, unless you need to get medical care or essential items such as food and medicine.
- If you go out in public, wear a face mask or cloth face cover to protect yourself and others.
- In public, practice social distancing. Avoid crowds. It is best to provide at least 6 feet of space between individuals.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19, get tested. If symptoms are severe and getting worse, call 9-1-1.
Symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals can be tested. Free Testing: AAHealth.org/covid19-testing
Yes, Marylanders are advised to wear face coverings while out in public. Follow these guidelines on face coverings, how to use them and how to make a no-sew mask.
Anne Arundel County residents can be tested by primary care providers or through the Department of Health’s testing services. For more information, click here.
The CDC states that at this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19. Human transmission of COVID-19 to animals is considered to be low.
Stay-at-home orders have been lifted for the State of Maryland; however, traveling still increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. A two-week self quarantine is recommended when returning from out-of-state travel, especially to certain high-risk locations. Individuals should avoid any non-essential travel.
- Do not stigmatize people of any ethnicity. People who have not had close contact with a person who is ill with COVID-19, are at no greater risk of this disease than you. Viruses do not target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds.
- Stay informed and only get information from trusted, official sources. Be especially wary of myths, rumors, misinformation and scams circulating online and elsewhere. Health information spread on social media is frequently inaccurate.