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:

Idaho Coronavirus Reopening

Utah Coronavirus Reopening

Wyoming Coronavirus Reopening

You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming on our Vaccination FAQ page.


Updated February 2021


Answers to Common COVID-19 Questions

Will a mask protect me from coronavirus? (UPDATED NOVEMBER 2020)

New scientific evidence from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that cloth masks may provide some protection from COVID-19 by preventing the inhalation of airborne droplets.

Even while wearing a mask, you should remain at least 6 feet from other people and avoid large groups and close contact.

Masks are recommended to limit the spread of your respiratory droplets to others. These respiratory droplets are believed to be the primary way that coronavirus spreads.

Masks should be washed or discarded after use. Always discard masks in trash receptacles. Use care when putting on or removing a mask, and wash hands for at least 20 seconds after handling a mask.

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 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
How does COVID-19 spread?
  1. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:
    1. Between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet).
    2. Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    3. When these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or are inhaled into the lungs.
    4. Regardless of whether an infected person shows symptoms; people with no symptoms can spread coronavirus.
  2.  The virus spreads easily between people.
    1. How easily a virus spreads from person to person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious, like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, which means it goes from person to person without stopping.
    2. Coronavirus is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.
Can I Get COVID-19 by Touching Surfaces or Objects?

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.  This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how the virus spreads.

Can I Get COVID-19 from Infected Animals, or Infect Animals with the Virus?
  1. At this time, the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low.
  2. It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations. The Centers for Disease Control is aware of a small number of pets worldwide, including  cats and dogs, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
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:

  1. Maintain good social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
    1.  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.
    2.  Put distance between yourself and other people outside your home.
      1.  Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
      2.  Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
      3.  Do not gather in groups.
      4.  Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
      5.  Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  2. Wash your hands often. 
    1.  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.
    2.  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.
    3.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3.  Cover coughs and sneezes.
    1. 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.
    2.  Throw used tissues in the trash.
    3.  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. 
  4. Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
    1.  Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
    2.  If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    3.  Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
  5. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others.
    1.  You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    2.  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.
    3.  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.
    4.  The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    5.  Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
    6.  Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  6. Monitor your health.
    1.  Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19.
      1. 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.
    2.  Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
      1.  Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
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 JANUARY 2021)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its first Emergency Use Authorization to a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on December 11, 2020. A vaccine developed by Moderna was authorized on December 18, 2020. Emergency Use Authorizations of additional vaccines are expected through the winter and spring of 2021.

In clinical trials, these vaccines have not shown significant side effects and have demonstrated a 90% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infections. Effectiveness may decline as more people get the vaccine, but it is expected to be more effective than a seasonal flu shot at preveting infection and life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms.

Vaccine distribution is determined by state health officials, and it may be some time before the general public has access to this vaccine. It is authorized for use in people over the age of 16 with the follwing exceptions:

  1. People with a history of severe allergies, including anaphylaxis. You should speak to your health care provider before getting vaccinated.
  2. Pregnant women
  3. Lactating women

Pregnant and lactating women should wait until more study data become available before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as the effects of the vaccine on developing children are not yet fully known.