General coronavirus information

Health, Wellness, and Prevention

What is a novel coronavirus?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority, a novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19, is a virus strain that has only spread in people since December 2019. While there are many existing coronaviruses, this particular virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, it has spread around the world, including to the U.S. See the CDC’s website for more information about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 have reported mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure. Information suggests that older people and those with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes being within approximately six feet of an individual with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

What should I do if I suspect I have COVID-19?

If you develop these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider before going in person. Tell them about your recent travel or contact. They will work with the local or state public health departments to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you are sick, follow all CDC guidelines to prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

I’m very worried about COVID-19 and I need help managing my feelings.

The abundance of news and updates about COVID-19 is making many people feel anxious. The American Psychological Association has put together some tips to manage your anxiety, put news reports in perspective, and maintain a positive outlook. If you’re having trouble managing your concerns on your own, reach out for help. CGCC students may seek counseling by contacting Student Services.

I’m concerned about bias, racism, and xenophobia related to COVID-19.

Viruses don’t discriminate: COVID-19 is not associated with any race, ethnicity, or nationality. It is vital that our community work to combat discrimination based on racial bias or appearances and to correct misinformation on the spot. Make sure you only share accurate, unbiased information, and speak up when you hear, see, or read misinformation or harassment. Incidents of bias or harassment on campus can be reported to the Student Services department (employees should report incidents to Human Resources).

What can I do to avoid getting sick?

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza, is to avoid exposure to the virus. Take the CDC-recommended precautions to reduce your risk of exposure, including proper handwashing; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a trash receptacle; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

How should I clean my work space?

The CDC recommends people clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (i.e., keyboards, cell phones, doorknobs, desks, light switches, etc.) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. An EPA-registered disinfectant or 10 percent bleach/water solution will be most effective. These cleaning and disinfectant products are readily available through mail order or local supermarkets and stores that stock basic home cleaning products.

Do I need to wear a facemask?

The CDC has not yet recommended that non-healthcare personnel wear masks, but we encourage everyone to check the CDC's page for updates, as guidelines can change rapidly as the disease progresses. Facemasks and other personal protective equipment is essential for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

I have a health condition that may put me at higher risk from COVID-19. Is there anything I should do to protect myself?

The college recommends community members with specific health concerns contact their healthcare provider for medical advice tailored to their individual situations. 

This page was updated April 3, 2020 at 2:00 pm