Last Updated 7/10/2020
What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus Disease 2019, commonly referred to as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many species of animals. This new virus is very closely related to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which also led to global outbreaks. Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China in late December of 2019, governments and health organizations around the globe have worked tirelessly to understand the new virus and implement measures to help stop the spread.
The list of symptoms associated with COVID-19 continues to grow as scientists and industry experts discover more about the new virus. Individuals with COVID-19 have experienced a wide variety of symptoms and some appear asymptomatic. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COIVD 19 illness.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. As of early May 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports the following as possible symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fever (greater than 100.3 F/37.9 C)
- Muscle pain/aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Those with COVID-19 may experience some or all of the above symptoms. This list is not all inclusive as less common symptoms such as gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, have been reported.
It is important to monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical attention immediately if sudden changes occur or if your condition suddenly worsens.
When to Seek Emergency Care
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
To schedule a virtual visit with our Emergency Department, call 603-575-6000 or call your primary care provider.
How COVID 19 Spreads
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes.
The virus is thought to spread mainly
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
The virus does not spread easily in other ways and these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.
- From touching surfaces or objects. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
- From animals to people. At this time, the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low.
- From people to animals. It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
CDC is aware of a small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
Good hand hygiene is vital in your protection against any virus or disease. 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. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not readily available.
For the general public, CDC recommends wearing gloves when you are cleaning or caring for someone who is sick. In most other situations, like running errands, wearing gloves is not necessary. Instead, practice everyday preventive actions like, washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol).
Wearing gloves when using a shopping cart or using an ATM will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs.
Physical Distancing is important in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Maintaining at least 6 feet of space between you and others can help protect you from being exposed to the virus.
We are proud of our community's efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is important that everyone continues to follow recommendations made by the CDC and health officials. You will notice physical distancing signs in place throughout our organization. Thank you for your patience and cooperation with physical distancing during these challenging few months.
Masks have also been recommended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC encourages the use of cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measure are difficult to maintain such as in grocery stores or pharmacies. Masks should cover your mouth and nostrils and fit firmly to your face.
LRH will continue to provide masks at our entrances for those who do not already have one when seeking care throughout our organization. If you are a patient at LRH or one of the limited number of visitors we are allowing at LRH, please note that all individuals will be wearing masks while in our facility, including our staff. We continue to work hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and want to keep our patients, limited visitors and staff safe. Thank you for your understanding of the work we are doing at LRH to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.
- How to Properly Wear a Mask [PDF file]
Routine cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces can help avoid exposure to germs and viruses.
- Wear reusable or disposable gloves for routine cleaning and disinfection.
- Clean surfaces using soap and water, then use disinfectant.
- Cleaning with soap and water reduces number of germs, dirt and impurities on the surface. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
- Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. High-touch surfaces include:
Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
Social distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social distancing:
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people
- Do not gather in groups
- Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
In addition to everyday steps to prevent COVID-19, keeping space between you and others is one of the best tools we have to avoid being exposed to this virus and slowing its spread locally and across the country and world.
Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you-or they-have no symptoms. Social distancing is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Social distancing does not include avoiding healthcare facilities. Postponing routine medical care and delaying chronic disease management can lead to increased risk of complications and worsening of health conditions. LRH has many mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of those in our building and encourages patients to return to seeking routine medical care.
Caring for Someone
If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home or in a non-healthcare setting, it is essential to protect yourself and others. The individual(s) in your care may have symptoms or have had tested positive, but are not showing any signs of symptoms.
Provide support and help cover basic needs. Help those who are sick follow the instructions provided to them by a medical professional. In most cases, symptoms last only a few days and people usually start to feel better after a week.
Watch for warning signs and seek medical attention if conditions worsen or rapidly change and monitor your own health for developing symptoms.
Protect yourself when caring for someone who is sick by:
- Limiting contact
- Eating in separate rooms or areas
- Avoiding the sharing of personal items
- Having the person who is sick wear a mask when around other people
- By the caregiver wearing gloves and a cloth face covering when providing direct care to the person who is sick
- By everyone practicing good hand hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- By cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces and items every day
For more information on caring for someone sick at home please visit: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html
Those at Higher Risk
Those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 include older adults (65 years and older) and people of any age with underlying medical conditions. They also have an increased chance of developing a more severe reaction to the virus.
LRH's Travel Recommendation
Now is the time for getaways and family outings, but this year's trip may look a little different and certainly requires increased caution and heightened safety measures. It may be necessary to reconsider your original plans and look for safer alternatives to fill your itinerary instead.
Some considerations as you plan, depart, and return from your trip:
- Continue practicing social distancing while away and wear a mask whenever proper social distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Evaluate your unique situation. Is anyone you intend on traveling with high risk?
- Practice good hygiene by washing your hands often and covering your sneeze or cough.
- Check state and local travel restrictions when planning. Avoid areas currently experiencing high volumes of COVID-19 cases.
- Consider staying closer to home this year. Northern parts of New England are experiencing lower volumes of positive cases.
- Anticipate your travel needs in advance which may be different given current circumstances.
- Air travel and other forms of public transportation present a greater risk of exposure. Traveling in your own vehicle and only with your travel companions are lower risk.
- Look at activities that are low risk and avoid things that require large crowds or close contact with others.
- Check with your employer to see what may be required following travel which will allow you to adjust the timing of your trip if necessary.
Self-isolation following your trip may not be necessary, but depends on where you went, what you did, and who you had contact with. Talk to your employer to determine whether or not you need to self-isolate upon your return. It is important to monitor your health closely once you return. If you are feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please call your doctor right away.
Please note, you should wait at least 48 hours after your return to be tested for COVID-19. Symptoms can be delayed and waiting to be tested allows for the most accurate test results. Various testing options are available to you. Visit our COVID Testing page to learn more. If your business would like to speak to someone about the testing of employees, please call LRH'S Occupational Health Department at 603-444-9294.
As travel slowly begins to increase, whether its community members traveling to other areas or visitors coming to our region, it's important to take extra precautions and stay safe.
What to Expect at Littleton Regional Healthcare
When you visit LRH, you will notice distinct changes in our policies and operations. The safety of our patients and staff is our greatest priority so we have made adjustments and taken precautions to keep everyone who enters our facility safe. See more under LRH Operations.