Frequently Asked Questions


What is COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) also known as Coronavirus?

A new Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was recently identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness. The 2019-nCoV outbreak began in December 2019, and Chinese health officials have reported thousands of 2019‑nCoV infections in China, including several that resulted in death. Several additional countries have identified cases of 2019-nCoV infection including the United States.


How do people become infected with Coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

    • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
    • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person;
    • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
    • Rarely, fecal contamination.


How can I avoid infection with COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    • 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 (60% alcohol).
    • 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.


What are the symptoms?

Patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Muscle aches or fatigue
    • Symptoms my appear 2 - 14 days after exposure

At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two (2) days or as long as 14 days after exposure.


What should I do if I do not feel well?

If you are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and can help make the decision whether you should get tested for coronavirus. Please visit the San Antonio Metro Health Department webpage here for information on testing guidelines and criteria.


Does the use of facemasks in the community help prevent COVID-19?

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.