Update: As the case count continues to rise, information on this story is moving quickly and may be out-of-date. We recommend checking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ways to stay safe and this John Hopkins tool for the most recent data.
We continue to answer your questions about the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19 -- and there sure are plenty. That's to be expected as the nation convulses from unprecedented lockdowns, quarantines and other interruptions. Here are some questions we received via email, with responses from Side Effects community engagement specialist Brittani Howell:
What is the incubation period for COVID-19?
The time between catching the virus and experiencing symptoms--the “incubation period--is between 1-14 days but most commonly around five days, according to the World Health Organization. A new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine also supports this timeline.
Are people with high blood pressure at risk for complications if they contract coronavirus?
Coronavirus is more severe for people with underlying health conditions, including heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reports from China suggest that hypertension may have been a significant contributing factor in some of the coronavirus deaths. The American Heart Association has resources and guidelines available on its website. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
I was recently in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. Should I go into self-quarantine?
First step: Call your doctor. They might want you to come in to get a test. Calling ahead gives them a chance to prepare for your visit.
If they ask you to come to a hospital or other testing location, try to stay a minimum of six feet away from other people and, if possible, wear a face mask. Your doctor will be able to advise you on what to do from there, including whether you should stay at the hospital or self-quarantine.
The CDC website recommends steps to take when you're sick. Your local/state health department may have more information.
Which counties have seen cases of coronavirus?
Most, if not all, states are using their health department websites to post regular updates about the coronavirus, including where cases have appeared.
Let’s look at Indiana as an example: The state health department’s landing page has a banner at the top that says “Information about coronavirus (COVID-19): Click here to learn more.” The banner takes users to the ISDH coronavirus dashboard.
Other state governments have similar coronavirus information in place.
This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health. Throughout the year, Side Effects will work closely with Indiana Public Broadcasting and WFYI to ask Americans about health issues, as part of the America Amplified: Election 2020 initiative. To join our texting group, text elections to 73224; we'll send questions each month and use your answers to inform our reporting. To contact us directly with a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org
America Amplified: Election 2020 is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. America Amplified is using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism. Follow America Amplified on Twitter at @amplified2020.