COVID-19 101: What You Need to Know

By: Yogesh Shah, MD, MPH

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives. It has closed schools, offices and places of worship. It has postponed gatherings, celebrations and community events. As things slowly begin to resume, it is important to understand what we each must do to continue to stop the spread of this virus.

COVID-19 is the most recently discovered coronavirus. Coronavirus is a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure and these symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and/or new loss of taste or smell.

If you are experiencing mild COVID-like symptoms you should stay home. If you need to seek care, call your primary care provider to discuss your symptoms prior to coming to a clinic or the hospital. If you are experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms, please seek medical care immediately.

Severe COVID-19 symptoms include: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and/or bluish lips or face.  If you develop these emergency warning signs for COVID-19 call 911 and notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put on a cloth face covering before medical help arrives.

In order to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 you should:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth mask or face cover when around others.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Practice social distancing—Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people. Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.

  • Avoid close contact with those that are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Wearing a cloth mask or face covering in public is an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19. When wearing a mask it should: reach above the nose, below the chin, and completely cover the mouth and nostrils, fit snugly against the sides of the face, be made of multiple layers of fabric that you can still breathe through and be able to be laundered.

Cloth face masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Your cloth mask should be routinely washed with hot water and laundry detergent either in a machine or by hand. Masks should not be placed in pockets for later use. If you need to store or transport your mask, carefully fold the mask so the contaminated outside is folded inward and against itself. When removing a mask from your face, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and wash your hands immediately after removing.

During this time, it is important that you continue to take care of any routine, emergent and urgent healthcare needs. Broadlawns is still serving urgent or emergent non-COVID-19 patients at all three of our Urgent Care Clinics – Cityville, East University and Main Campus, as well was in our Emergency Department. Please call ahead before visiting a clinic.

Broadlawns primary care, mental health and many specialty care clinics are now providing virtual care visits. A virtual care visit is a face-to-face video appointment with your healthcare provider using a computer, smartphone or tablet. Virtual care provides a safe and convenient way for you to access care through your existing provider or to establish care with a new healthcare provider. To schedule a virtual care visit, please call the clinic during normal business hours to see what options are available for your visit.

Broadlawns is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19. The safety of our patients and our healthcare team is our number one priority. To learn more about COVID-19 or about receiving care at Broadlawns, visit

To safely resume our lives, let’s make sure we each do our part by taking care of our health, wearing a face covering when around others, washing our hands frequently and practicing social distancing. Together, we can keep our community healthy.