COVID-19 Information, Testing, and Resources
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes, and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
How does it spread?
COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:
Through the air by coughing or sneezing.
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
Touching an object or surface with the virus on it.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
Shortness of breath.
Repeated shaking with chills.
New loss of taste or smell.
Most people who have mild symptoms can recover at home without medical care. If you’d like to get tested for a COVID-19 (and influenza) diagnosis, contact Community Health Net to schedule an appointment at our 1202 State Street drive-thru location. While you are awaiting your scheduled appointment, it’s still important to stay home, isolate, and avoid contact with others, rest, and drink fluids. If you feel worse, call a Community Health Net health care provider at (814) 455-7222.
For severe symptoms (including a fever above 100°), call a Community Health Net health care provider. If it’s an emergency, call 911.
Emergency warning signs can include:
Bluish lips or face.
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
Inability to wake or stay awake.
Protect Yourself and Others
- Wear a mask — indoors and outdoors — whenever you leave home or have people who do not live with you in your space.
- Keep your distance from those you don’t live with and avoid crowds.
- Download the COVID Alert PA mobile app to get alerted if you’ve been near someone who has tested positive, and to alert others if you test positive.
- Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Clean high-touch surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
- If you are sick — even if your symptoms are mild — stay home until you are feeling better.
Acknowledgment: This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $280,000 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.
Related Information and Resources
“The NIH set up five different panels of scientists based on they have an African American, they have a Latinx, they have one that deals with geriatric patients, and the Veterans Administration patients and then other Indigenous groups. And they set that up so that we would be able to see the phase one and the phase two data that led to the phase three trial.
“From all the data and information that we have, we know that it’s a safe vaccine, and we know that women who are pregnant are at increased risk for poor outcomes from a COVID infection. And so, I definitely offer the vaccine to pregnant women and am very confident that it is something that is safe to take during pregnancy.”
“Typically, when I’m going to give the COVID vaccine, I’ll let them know when you’re going to get the first dose of the COVID vaccine you might feel your arm very sore. It’s like somebody punched you in the arm, and that’s that type of a soreness.
“I know it sounds very scary, but first you have to understand how viruses work. Viruses in order to infect a person and make them sick, the viruses have to copy themselves. And when the viruses make copies of themselves, they make mistakes.
“It’s hard to then for people to understand the idea that a vaccine wouldn’t protect you 100 percent. Although honestly, the flu vaccine also doesn’t protect you 100 percent, you know? But the people that were vaccinated in the clinical trials,
“We in this country are really privileged to have a very good, very robust system, that looks at vaccine safety. So, before any vaccine goes on the market there’s been months of tests to make sure that it is safe. Those months before vaccine goes on the market are meant to find common side effects that could be serious.