Health Tips and Recommendations

Information About COVID-19

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The Florida Department of Health and CDC recommend everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of respiratory diseases, are listed below.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself:

  • 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.

Take Steps to protect others:

  • Stay home if you’re 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.

The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).COVID-19 testing in the United States has faced challenges, delaying availability and access to tests, and hindering contact tracing in communities.

COVID-19 Testing Information: 

  • Rather than utilizing the test distributed by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed its own test, but has struggled to make it widely available.

  • After a possible contamination in CDC’s test that resulted in inconclusive results, CDC had to roll-back faulty tests, causing delays. After complaints that some patients at high-risk were not eligible for tests, CDC expanded its testing criteria.

  • The Administration has repeatedly stated that millions of tests would be available, but CDC, public health labs, and private diagnostic labs have collectively tested approximately 59,000 people since January.

  • Recent reports indicate that while more tests may be available, labs have limited capacity to conduct tests, and are experiencing shortages of supplies such as cotton swabs and other testing agents.

Priorities for Who Should Be Tested for COVID-19:

  • According to guidance from CDC, while health care providers should use their judgment on which patients should be tested, CDC has indicated the following as priorities for testing:

    • Hospitalized patients with signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19;

    • Other symptomatic individuals, such as older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk; and

    • Any individuals, including health care personnel, who have had exposure to COVID-19 or who have a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of their symptom onset.

What to Do If You or Someone You Know Is Experiencing Symptoms:

  • Call ahead! If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled outside the country, call your health care provider first before seeking medical care. This is important to protect you and to keep your community safe.

  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

    • New confusion or inability to arouse

    • Bluish lips or face

    • *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

How In Vitro Diagnostic Testing Works For COVID-19:

  • If you are a patient needing to be tested, a specimen will be collected, typically from the back of your throat or your nose, using a long swab. That specimen is then transferred to a collection device that will be sent to a qualified lab for processing.

  • At the lab, technicians will amplify viral genetic material to determine whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus is present. If found, the patient will receive a positive result. 

  • Processing time of these samples varies based on the technology of the diagnostic test and the capacity of the lab.

Mental Health Resources

  • Aspire Health Partners is offering a dedicated telephone line to assist residents with mental health concerns related to COVID-19. Residents can call the helpline to be connected with a caring mental health professional. For more information please call 407-875-3700 ext. 2 or click here for more information. 
  • Florida Blue: Licensed clinicians are available to speak to anyone in Florida free of charge in both English and Spanish, including those who do not have insurance or have coverage with another health plan. The emotional support line can be reached at 833-848-1762.

  • Crisis Text Line: Text from anywhere in the USA to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Every texter is connected with a Crisis Counselor, a real-life human being trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem solving. Free, confidential 24/7 support with a Crisis Counselor: Text “HOME” to 741741.

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. For more information call 1-800-273-8255. 

Other useful links:

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