COVID-19 Information

Last Updated 3/18/2021

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus that emerged in 2019. It is the cause of the current global pandemic. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that typically cause mild illnesses like the common cold. Information on this virus is emerging everyday, so please be mindful of the date that reference information was written as our understanding of the virus is rapidly changing. 

Vulnerability 

Patients that experience the more severe form of the disease are typically over 65 and have multiple other disease states such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma. However, patients of any age or medical history can experience the severe form of the disease which can lead to hospitalization and death. 

Signs and symptoms 

The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of smell or taste 

  • Muscle aches

  • Congestion

  • Headache

  • Sore throat 

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Runny nose

What to do if you have signs and symptoms

If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had direct contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should seek testing as soon as possible. Click on the button below to located a testing site near you in New York State. 

How to prevent the spread

Face masks, frequent hand washing, avoiding events with large crowds and following social distancing guidelines are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Who should get tested

Individuals who have:

  • symptoms of COVID-19

  • had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

  • taken part in activities where they couldn't socially distance

  • been referred to seek testing by their healthcare provider or local health dept

Types of COVID-19 tests available 

There are two different types of tests- diagnostic and antibody tests. 

A diagnostic test can show if an individual has an active coronavirus infection.

An antibody test is used to determine if a patient was previously infected with COVID. It looks for antibodies that are made by the immune system in response to a threat, such as a specific virus. Antibodies can take several days or weeks to develop after an infection and this type of test shouldn't be used to diagnose COVID-19.

Diagnostic testing

There are two types of diagnostic tests-molecular and antigen tests.

  • Molecular tests, also known as PCR tests, are looking for viral genetic material. The sample is commonly collected through a nasal, nasopharyngeal or saliva swab. The results for this test should be expected in several hours or days depending on the lab. Molecular tests are highly sensitive and specific.

  • Antigen tests detect the a very specific protein on the surface of the virus. This sample can be collected with a nasal or nasopharyngeal swab and results are expected in less than an hour. This type of test is highly specific, but less sensitive than molecular tests.

A test that is sensitive correctly detects a positive result. This means that it will detect almost everyone that has the disease and doesn't have many false-negative results. On the other hand, a specific test correctly detects a negative result. This means it will rule out almost everyone that doesn't have the disease and won't generate many false-positive results. 

You should seek an antigen test if you need results immediately. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 and your results come back inconclusive or negative you should consider seeking a molecular test. A molecular test is more sensitive and specific and will confirm or completely rule out infection.

Vaccines available 

Currently, there are 3 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the United States. These 3 vaccines are the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). All 3 vaccines are effective against hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, but their vaccine type, effectiveness, and number of doses vary.  While none of the vaccines below are 100% effective at preventing COVID, they all dramatically reduce the severity of disease should you contract COVID after being vaccinated.

Johnson & Johnson

Effectiveness-up to 72% at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 illness after one dose, meaning the chances of getting COVID-19 with severe symptoms leading to hospitalization or death are greatly reduced

Number of doses required - 1

Vaccine type-viral vector

-A vector carries the code to make the spike proteins into the cells and then triggers the immune response to combat the infection.

Pfizer/BioNTech

Effectiveness-95% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after the second dose, meaning the chances of getting COVID-19 with severe symptoms leading to hospitalization or death are greatly reduced.

Number of doses required - 2 

Vaccine type - messenger RNA (mRNA)

-Spike proteins are made with the instructions provided by the mRNA and they activate the immune system and develop antibodies to combat the infection.

Moderna

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Effectiveness-94.5% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after the second dose, meaning the chances of getting COVID-19 with severe symptoms leading to hospitalization or death are greatly reduced.

Number of doses required - 2

Vaccine type-messenger RNA (mRNA)

-Spike proteins are made with the instructions provided by the mRNA and they activate the immune system and develop antibodies to combat the infection.

We advise that as soon as the vaccine is available to you and you feel comfortable, receive whichever vaccine is offered to you! 

Let's end this pandemic together. Stay safe and healthy!

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