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What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. 

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause diseases in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans, but most just cause cold-like symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the main symptoms of the coronavirus usually include:

  • A dry cough 

  • A fever

  • Tiredness/lethargy

  • Shortness of breath (in more severe cases)

Some patients may have "aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea", the WHO adds. "These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell".

These symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases including flu and the common cold. So if you have symptoms, consider the following:

  • Have you traveled to high-risk areas that have widespread, ongoing transmission of coronavirus in the last two weeks?

  • Have you been in close contact with someone with the coronavirus?

How is it transmitted?

COVID-19 spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Who is at the highest risk for becoming severely ill with COVID-19?

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

  • People aged 65 years and older

  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

  • Other high-risk conditions could include:

    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

    • People who have serious heart conditions

    • People who are immunocompromised, including persons undergoing cancer treatment

    • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk

    • People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk of viral illnesses, however, to date, data on COVID-19 has not shown an increased risk

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune-weakening medications.

How likely am I to catch/contract coronavirus?

The risk depends on where you are - and more specifically, whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak unfolding at your location.

For most people in most locations, the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low, however, there are now places around the world (cities or areas) where the disease is spreading. For people living in or visiting these areas, the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of the disease?

Clean 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.

Avoid close contact.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Put a distance of at least 2 meters between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at a higher risk of getting very sick.

Stay at home if you’re sick.

  • Stay home if you are sick, except in an attempt to get medical care. Read the rest of our FAQ to learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

  • 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 hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect.

  • 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 detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Is there a vaccine, drug, or treatment for COVID-19?

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

However, those infected with the virus can receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

The current recommendations by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and NCDC is that improvised face masks are mandatory in public places. All visitors/patients are required to wear face mask at all times while at EHA Clinics. We also encourage all patients to wear face masks when out in public. 

Face masks

  • Should cover both your nose and mouth at all times when wearing the mask;

  • Should not be removed to talk, cough, or sneeze;

  • If using an improvised face mask they should be washed with soap and water daily;

  • Disposable face mask should be disposed of after in a dustbin after use and should not be reused;

  • Continue to abide by all other measures in addition to wearing a face mask (social distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding public gatherings).

What should I do if I suspect I have COVID-19?

If you suspect that you have COVID-19, contact EHA Clinics Command Center on 0800EHACLINICS (0800 34225 46427). You will be triaged to confirm if you meet the criteria for testing.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

Call the EHA Clinics Command Center on 0800EHACINICS (0800 34225 46427) and we can help coordinate with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to assess you for screening.

What can I expect if I come to EHA Clinics with COVID-19 related needs?

If you meet the criteria for testing, you will be directed to a designated parking location and instructed to wait in the vehicle until you are called to the sample collection area, where a sample will be collected based on guidelines.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

You will be contacted by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and referred to one of the designated COVID-19 treatment sites. There you will be managed and cleared when you have 2 negative tests.

Is it safe to come to EHA Clinics if I am sick with symptoms unrelated to COVID-19?

You can contact EHA Clinics Command Center on 0800EHACLINICS (0800 34225 46427) and someone will assess if it is safe for you to come to our facility for treatment. We also offer telemedicine and home care services where you can be assessed and attended to by one of our medical personnel.

Can EHA Clinics send a nurse to my home to treat me for COVID-19? What about other illnesses?

At this time, we are not managing patients at home with COVID-19. Everyone who tests positive is managed at a designated treatment center. If you have any symptoms unrelated to COVID-19 you can access our homecare service and a nurse will be sent to your home.

My family is sick with COVID-19! How can EHA Clinics help us?

EHA Clinics can coordinate the transport of you or any members of your family to any of the COVID-19 designated treatment centers using our fully-equipped ambulance.