FAQs

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, call your doctor before visiting so they can prepare. Do not go to an emergency room with mild symptoms. The CDC has a fact sheet with more information about what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.

When should I seek emergency medical attention?

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

How is the virus spread?

  • COVID-19 is believed to spread primarily the same way the common cold or flu spreads—through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes.
  • People who are most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within about 6 feet) with someone who has the disease. 
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Can someone contract COVID-19 by coming in contact with contaminated 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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily does the virus spread?

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

What is Community Spread?

Occurs where individuals have been infected with the virus in an area and cannot specifically identify the source of the infection, or do not know how or where they became infected (e.g., cannot spread the illness to a specific event, like a cruise).

Do our local hospitals and medical facilities, including urgent care, acute care, and emergency rooms have COVID-19 test collection kits available?

Yes.

Do doctor’s offices have COVID-19 test collection kits available?

Yes.

How many COVID-19 tests have been performed in Dubuque County?

Testing allotments change daily based on the Iowa State Hygienic Lab’s ability to secure tests and local providers’ abilities to secure tests from the state lab and private reference labs. 

What should someone do if they feel ill or have a fever?

Call your doctor.  Your doctor will advise you of next steps.

Do our local hospital and emergency personnel have access to personal protective equipment such as N95 masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and hair/shoe covers?

Supplies are limited.  Hospitals are assessing and reporting their supplies and needs regularly to the Iowa Department of Public Health and Dubuque public health officials. 

How many respirators are available in our hospitals?

Again, supplies are limited and being assessed regularly.

Are our hospitals working together?

Yes, state and local public health officials and local medical facilities are working together.  Hospital plans are in place to address patient load.

Is there a plan for certain sections of the hospital to be devoted to COVID-19 patients only to avoid cross-contamination? 

Both hospitals have their incident command systems up and running and are addressing these issues.  

Is there dedicated staff to assist in proper dressing and disposal of personal protective equipment?

Again, both hospitals have their incident command systems running and are addressing these issues.

Is there a shortage of testing swabs?

This is not a need identified in Dubuque at this time.

Should I wear a mask to protect myself from COVID-19?

Maintaining a 6-foot social distance from other individuals remains one of the most important ways to slow the spread of COVID-19; however, recent studies have indicated that some people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms, and that even those who later develop symptoms can pass the virus to others before showing symptoms. Because of this new evidence, wearing cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing measures are difficult (like grocery stores and pharmacies) can be done to help further slow the spread of COVID-19.

Face covering guidance is available from Iowa Department of Public Health here.

Can I make my own face covering or gown?

Guidance for Iowans to sew homemade masks for healthcare providers (Iowa Department of Public Health)

Sewing homemade masks (UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids)

Watch U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams make a face covering in 45 seconds.

Guidance for Iowans to sew cloth gowns for healthcare providers (Iowa Department of Public Health)

Additional information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Iowa Department of Public Health.