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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why does Weld County have a high death count?Why does Weld County have a high death count?

Honestly, we don’t know right now. But here’s what we do know. We know that the deaths were in high-risk individuals, many of whom had underlying health issues. There are a lot of variables that come into play with these cases. We won’t fully know why our death count is potentially higher than other counties until our epidemiologists can analyze other reasons that may be contributing to Weld County deaths. These reasons could include age, socio-economic status, and the number of high-risk individuals that live in Weld County. There is also a lag in the state’s reporting of deaths. So, while Weld County’s death count may look high, another county might have deaths that haven’t yet been updated in the state’s data reporting system. What we can tell you is teams continue to investigate cases, doctors and nurses continue to treat cases and we ALL need people to continue to limit their travel, stay at home as much as they can and practice physical distancing.

Why is COVID-19 worse than the flu?Why is COVID-19 worse than the flu?

COVID-19 is a new form of SARS. It has only been a few months since we have known about COVID-19 and research takes time to really understand how this virus spreads and to develop a vaccine for it.

The virus seems to be a lot more contagious than the seasonal flu. People can spread COVID-19 before they are symptomatic. Therefore, social distancing is important – you can spread it long before you know you have it.

Comparing COVID-19 with SARS: People with SARS usually didn’t become contagious until several days after symptoms appeared. This meant that actions taken during this period to isolate or quarantine sick patients interrupted the spread. With COVID-19, it seems that it can be transmitted quite a bit before symptoms occur.

What is the difference between self-isolation and quarantine?What is the difference between self-isolation and quarantine?

Quarantine and isolation are two words often used when describing methods taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. While you may think the words are similar, they have very different meanings and actions associated with them.

Many of the actions we’re asking you to take — practice physical distancing, only leave your home for essential activities, avoid groups of more than 10 — all revolve around the idea of quarantining. Quarantine is a measure that, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), separates and restricts movement of those who have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Isolation is a way to separate those who’ve tested positive with COVID-19 from those who haven’t. Isolation can be voluntary, but the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment is the legal authority to issue isolation orders to people who are sick.

As viruses need human beings to survive and replicate, both quarantining and isolation are effective techniques in lessening the impact of COVID-19. 

Testing Questions

How do I get tested for COVID-19?How do I get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who has symptoms or believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to:

  • Call or email a health care provider first.
  • Do not go to an emergency room to get a test for COVID-19 unless you are a having a medical emergency.
  • Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are having a medical emergency.
  • A doctor order is required to receive testing and patient must have photo identification that matches the name on the provider’s order.
  • Listen to health care provider’s advice regarding testing procedures.

Current treatment for COVID-19 is rest, recovery and self-isolation at home. About 80% of people who become ill will recover on their own. 

What do I do if I'm having symptoms but don't meet the testing criteria?What do I do if I'm having symptoms but don't meet the testing criteria?

  • Do not go to an emergency room unless you are having a medical emergency.
  • Contact your primary care provider or an urgent care facility. Call before going.
  • Self-isolate and stay away from others.
  • Monitor symptoms.
  • If symptoms worsen call your primary care provider.
  • Call 911 if immediate medical attention is needed.

If you don’t have a primary care provider, contact the following local urgent care facilities:

  • UC Health Urgent Care Greeley: (970) 350-2454
  • Banner Urgent Care: (970) 810-4155
  • NextCare Urgent Care: (970) 351-8339
  • Little Clinic - Westlake King Soopers: (970) 475-0056

I feel ill. Do I absolutely need to be tested for COVID-19?I feel ill. Do I absolutely need to be tested for COVID-19?

People with mild early, mild symptoms (might include a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness, with or without fever): Self-isolate, and use over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol to treat your symptoms — like you would for a cold or other respiratory illness.

People with more definite COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath): Self-isolate, use over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol to relieve symptoms, and, if you think you need medical advice, consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care.

People with more serious symptoms, especially shortness of breath: Self-isolate, use over-the-counter medications and contact a health care provider if your illness becomes more severe. Your provider may recommend you be tested for COVID-19 and should be able to instruct you on how to get a test.

Prevention and Treatment Questions

Are there medicines to prevent or treat COVID-19?Are there medicines to prevent or treat COVID-19?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. Even though you can’t treat COVID-19 right now, you can treat symptoms. The Health Department recommends using a fever reducer such as Tylenol.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating COVID-19?Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating COVID-19?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. COVID-19 is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for COVID-19, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

 

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over my body kill COVID-19Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over my body kill COVID-19?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or your eyes and mouth. Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

 

Can hair dryers or hand dryers kill COVID-19?Can hair dryers or hand dryers kill COVID-19?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing COVID-19. To protect yourself against COVID-19, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 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.

Does Weather Affect the Virus?

Can cold weather kill COVID-19?Can cold weather kill COVID-19?

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill COVID-19 or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 96.5°F to 98°F, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself is by frequently washing your hands with soap and water.

 

Will warm weather stop the outbreak?Will warm weather stop the outbreak?

It is not yet known if weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer.

Food Safety Questions

Can I get COVID-19 from food takeout or a drive-through?Can I get COVID-19 from food takeout or a drive-through?

There is no evidence that takeout or drive-through meals will increase chance of getting COVID-19. This option is a good risk management choice, especially for high risk and elderly groups because it helps maintain physical distancing. There is also no evidence that food delivered to your home will increase the chance of contracting the virus. Similar to takeout, food delivery helps maintain physical distancing and reduces the number of times food and packaging is touched between preparation and serving. Many delivery programs have also instituted no touch and no interaction options, further reducing risk.

If you happen to consume food that is contaminated with COVID-19, your stomach acid should kill the virus. Even if your stomach acid doesn’t kill the virus, there is no evidence the virus can start infecting people through their gastrointestinal tract. The only possible way to get sick is if, during eating, the virus encounters a specific type of respiratory cell. However, this scenario is highly unlikely and shouldn’t be of concern given what is known about how the virus is transmitted.

Current evidence shows the biggest risk of transmission of COVID-19 is being around individuals who are symptomatic (and to a lesser extent, infected but not showing symptoms.) Food businesses should be following employee health policies and health department recommendations to keep these individuals home.

Can COVID-19 be spread through refrigerated or frozen food?Can COVID-19 be spread through refrigerated or frozen food?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Pet and Animal Safety Questions

Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?Can I get COVID-19 from my pets or other animals?

There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands and maintain good hygiene.

If I'm sick with COVID-19, should I stay away from pets and animals?If I'm sick with COVID-19, should I stay away from pets and animals?

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about COVID-19. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.

Can I get COVID-19 from a mosquito bite? Can I get COVID-19 from a mosquito bite?

To date there has been no information or evidence to suggest COVID-19 could be transmitted by mosquitoes. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

Cleaning and Disinfection Questions

How do I properly clean household surfaces?How do I properly clean household surfaces?

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

  • If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.
  • Otherwise, use products with the EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims that are suitable for porous surfaces

How do I disinfect clothing and linens?How do I disinfect clothing and linens?

Do not shake dirty laundry; this minimizes the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air. Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance for hard or soft surfaces.

How do i properly disinfect electronics in my home?How do I properly disinfect electronics in my home?

For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
  • Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
  • If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
Miscellaneous Questions

I can sew masks. Is this needed?I can sew masks. Is this needed?

Although hand sewn masks are not considered official personal protective equipment with regard to COVID-19, North Range Behavioral Health needs face masks and gowns for staff and clients. If you or someone you know can sew, help fight COVID-19 by making masks and gowns for this organization. They even have patterns on their site.

Weld County: Cloth Mask Guidance

How do I protect myself from scammers?How do I protect myself from scammers?

Here are some tips to help you keep COVID-19 scammers at bay:

  • Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls instead.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the COVID-19 — online or in stores. Currently, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for COVID-19.
  • Fact-check information. Scammers, and sometimes well-meaning people, share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources.