COVID-19 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.

 

Is COVID-19 the same as the SARS virus or MERS?

No. COVID-19 is not the same coronavirus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, but is similar in that it is causing respiratory illness.

 

 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

For the vast majority of people who have had the illness, symptoms were mild (like a cold or flu) and they resolved after several days. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat.

 

Does COVID-19 spread from person to person?

COVID-19 has been shown to spread between people. It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Human coronaviruses typically spread through the air by coughing and sneezing.

 

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

Diagnosis occurs through laboratory testing of respiratory specimens and serum (blood). Some coronavirus strains cause the common cold and patients tested by their health care provider may test positive for these types. The COVID-19 strain can only be detected at a public health laboratory.

 

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is not a vaccine for COVID-19.

 

How can I help protect myself?

CDC advises that people follow these tips to help prevent respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

What preventive actions can students take during flu season?

  • Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu shot.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

 

It is highly recommended that students continue to practice preventive actions as flu season continues. If you are feeling ill, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

 

 

What happens to the students attending Houston Community College if there is a confirmed case on campus?

If a COVID-19 virus is confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control protocols will be followed. Those who have had close contact with the patient will be contacted and monitored by the Harris County Health Department.

 

What if I recently traveled and have concerns that I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

If you are experiencing symptoms or have concerns about already being exposed, please:

  1. Stay home.
  2. Contact your healthcare provider.
  3. Complete one of the following actions to report your situation. A staff member will contact within 24 hours to obtain additional information and offer you assistance.
    • For students, please complete this Self-Reporting Form.
    • For faculty and staff, we will have a Self-Reporting Form available later this week. Meantime, please reach out to your direct supervisor.

HCC also issued a memo regarding travel restrictions, self-quarantine requirements and other updates that is important for everyone in the HCC Family to be familiar with and follow.