Coronavirus FAQs

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Because this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide updated information as it becomes available, including any changes in the risk assessment.

The Washington State Department of Health has created a Coronavirus call center: 1-800-525-0127. And UW Medicine has created a Coronavirus Information Line where you can hear additional information: 206-520-2285.

How does it spread?

Although we have a lot to learn about this virus, it is currently believed that it spreads like other respiratory viruses — by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose, or mouth by contaminated hands.

What are the symptoms of this infection?

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following:

  • Fever/sweating
  • Chills
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain associated with breathing
  • Feelings of exhaustion or weakness
  • Loss of energy
  • In rare cases, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody mucus
  • Presence of confusion or changes in mental status, such as confusion, loss of alertness, disorientation, defects in judgment, or strange or unusual behaviors
  • Changes to sense of smell or taste or change in appetite
  • Red eyes

It is important to note that the majority of residents who have been tested have not presented with respiratory symptoms common to COVID-19. We have been requesting tests conservatively and are finding that other symptoms have been preceding positive test results. We are treating any resident with any symptoms listed above as COVID-19 positive until they are tested and we know for sure.

If you are experiencing symptoms, click here for important steps.

Please note that these pages are not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.