Coronavirus and COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Sterling Urgent Care created this FAQ for the benefit of our employer partners. We are sharing this information on coronavirus and COVID-19 for the benefit of the communities that we serve.
The information we have compiled is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control as well as coronavirus guidance from Idaho, Utah and Wyoming health officials. State-specific guidance for reopening can be found on the following pages:
You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming on our Vaccination FAQ page.
Updated May 2021
Answers to Common COVID-19 Questions
Will a mask protect me from coronavirus? (UPDATED MAY 2020)
The CDC has revised mask guidance based on additional data that has improved understanding of COVID-19. Wearing a mask may provide some protection from COVID-19. The primary reason to wear a mask is to prevent you from spreading the virus to others.
Although uncommon, those who have been fully vaccinated can catch COVID-19 and spread it to other people. Masks should still be worn in all public indoor settings and in crowded outdoor settings where you cannot maintain six feet of distance from people outside your household.
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
- Shortness of breath
How does COVID-19 spread? (UPDATED MAY 2021)
The understanding of how COVID-19 spreads continues to evolve as more data become available to researchers. As of May 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes three primary transmission methods for COVID-19:
Someone coughs or sneezes, and the droplets land in your eyes, nose or throat. The closer you are to the person coughing or sneezing, the greater the risk of infection.
You breathe contaminated air. COVID-19 is an airborne virus. Tiny particles can hover and concentrate indoors in poorly ventilated areas. You can be infected anywhere in an indoor setting where virus particles are present, but the greatest risk of infection exists within 6 feet of an infected person and with more than 15 minutes of exposure. Note that this does not need to be continuous, close exposure. Coming in contact with an infected person several times over the course of a day can add up to the 15 minutes needed to increase infection risk.
You touch contaminated surfaces and then touch your face. Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer for 20 seconds greatly reduces this risk.
Can I Get COVID-19 by Touching Surfaces or Objects?
Researchers cannot rule out the possibility that COVID-19 spreads from contact with contaminated objects, though the primary method of transmission is contact with infected droplets exhaled by infected individuals.
Never share utensils, food, food containers or personal-care items with people who may be infected or people from outside your household.
Always use hand sanitizer or wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds after handling items from outside your home.
Always wash hands before handling masks and immediately after removing them.
Clean high-contact surfaces frequently, such as doorknobs, refrigerators, cabinet pulls and faucets.
Remove shoes when you enter your home and keep them away from children and pets.
Can I Get COVID-19 from Infected Animals, or Infect Animals with the Virus?
- The risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people and from people to animals is considered to be low; however, there have been cases of mammals, including pet dogs and cats, catching COVID-19 from their owners. People with COVID-19 should isolate from animals in their homes. People with COVID-19 who work with animals should stay home from work for a period of 10 days after symptoms appear.
- Current evidence suggests a unique vulnerability for mink. Three have been documented cases of transmission between humans and mink in Michigan, Utah, Denmark and The Netherlands. Those involved in mink farming and communities near mink farms must take precautions to limit transmission between mink and humans. The CDC has developed guidance to help protect mink and to limit outbreaks:
How can I help protect myself and others?
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can take steps to slow the spread:
- Maintain good social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Put distance between yourself and other people outside your home.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Do not gather in groups.
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your ahnds with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others.
- You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Cloth face covering should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
- Monitor your health.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
- Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19.
Will a face shield protect me from coronavirus?
A face shield may provide some limited protection from coronavirus reaching your eyes. Face shields do not provide any protection to others from your respiratory droplets, and they do not act as a barrier to prevent aerosolized virus from entering your nose and mouth.
Face shields and goggles can be worn together with a mask to provide a greater level of protection for those around you and yourself.
A face shield worn alone may not meet mask requirements set by local health authorities. Face shields should be worn with masks, not as an alternative to masks.
What should I do if I recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19?
If you have traveled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to 2 weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period (fever, cough, trouble breathing), seek medical advice. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19? (UPDATED MAY 2021)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given Emergency Use Authorizations to the following vaccines:
- Pfizer/BioNTech, a 2-shot vaccine authorized for all individuals over the age of 16
- Moderna, a 2-shot vaccine authorized for all individuals over the age of 18
- Janssen, distributed in the United States by Johnson & Johnson, a 1-shot vaccine authorized for all individuals over the age of 18
Clinical trials have found these vaccines to be up to 90% effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Data released by the CDC found that fewer than 0.05% of people died from COVID-19 after vaccination.
Though extremely rare, approximately 1 in 1,000,000, a bood clot disorder has been associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If you receive this vaccine, you should ask for additional information about this. The condition is treatable and so uncommon that it should not discourage people from getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though you should consider your options and your comfort level with the vaccine before receiving it.
Women who are pregnant, lactating or attempting to get pregnant should speak to ther doctors before getting the vaccine. As of late April, the CDC recommends the approved vaccines for pregnant and lactating women