Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

For detailed, updated FAQs from New York State Department of Health, see this document.

What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus and may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing
  • pneumonia

How dangerous is COVID-19?
The majority of people will recover on their own without needing hospitalization. Some people who are more at risk, including older individuals, people with compromised immune systems, and people with chronic medical conditions, may develop pneumonia and other breathing complications. People with more significant breathing complications will require hospital care.

What can I do to stay healthy?
•    Wash your hands frequently
•    Cover your cough and sneeze
•    Social distancing -- STAY HOME as much as possible

Where can I get medical evaluation?
The CDC and New York State Department of Health are recommending people seek evaluation through virtual care.  The public can access our major local healthcare systems offer virtual care services through these links:

If you are not comfortable with virtual care, then call the office of your healthcare provider or walk-in provider prior to arrival.

When should I call 911 or go to the emergency department?
If you are having severe difficulty breathing, you should call 911 or go to the closest appropriate emergency department.

Do I need to be tested?
The decision to test must be made by a healthcare provider.  People who are not sick do not meet the criteria for testing.

Who is getting tested?
Our healthcare systems are currently testing individuals who need testing in accordance with New York State and CDC guidance.

Why is everything being shut down?
COVID-19 is easily spread between people. People can spread the disease without even showing signs of illness. Less interaction between people means less opportunity for the virus to spread. If everyone became sick at the same time it would overwhelm the healthcare system. Our healthcare system can continue to provide care if the rate at which people get sick is slowed down.

What should I do if I am healthy?
In order to protect your community from the spread of the virus, please practice social distancing, as suggested by the CDC, and STAY HOME as much as possible. Continue to follow these simple steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What should I do if I am sick?
Try to limit your contact with others to prevent spreading the disease. This means staying home from work or other activities if you are able. Limit the amount of people coming to your home while you are sick. Seek medical care if you are concerned. Consider seeking care through a virtual care service provided by one of our healthcare providers. If you are not comfortable with virtual care, then call the office of your healthcare provider or walk-in provider prior to arrival.

What should I do if someone in my home is sick?
Continuously clean surfaces within your home. Avoid touching dirty tissues or other materials that may contain germs. Wash your hands frequently. Try to avoid direct contact with the ill individual.

Will wearing a mask prevent me from getting the virus?
Per CDC guidance, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that all individuals should wear a mask in public when unable to social distance (6 feet apart), including public transportation. Wearing a mask prevents individuals from transmitting COVID-19. 

For additional information on COVID-19, visit the CDC COVID-19 website.