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Coronavirus Information

Coronaviruses are a common group of viruses that usually cause mild to moderate respiratory illness. The particular strain in the news today, COVID-19, has been associated with more severe symptoms in some instances.

Based on current information, symptoms of COVID-19 can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days from initial exposure to the disease, and can be transmitted from inhaling or touching infected droplets from an infected person – usually from a cough or a sneeze.

There are NO known cases in the metropolitan St. Louis area, nor are there any suspected cases at any BJC hospitals.

BJC has a process in place at every hospital to screen and identify potential cases, and is prepared and equipped to care for patients safely.

It’s important to note that flu season is nearing its peak. Unless an individual has recently traveled to Wuhan, or has been exposed to a recent traveler, symptoms are likely the flu. Please remember to practice cold and flu prevention techniques:

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue
  • Stay home if you are sick

More details can be found on the CDC’s website.

Please do not visit the hospital if you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Body ache

 Learn the difference between influenza (flu) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

  • Coronavirus Information from Dr. Hilary Babcock
    Dr. Hilary Babcock, an infectious disease specialist at Washington University School of Medicine and BJC's director of infection prevention, shares some important information about coronavirus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19? COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus) is an emerging respiratory virus that first appeared in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.

What are coronaviruses? Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a halo or crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under a microscope. These viruses are a common cause of mild to moderate upper-respiratory illness in humans and are associated with respiratory, gastrointestinal, liver and neurologic disease in animals.

What are the symptoms and signs of COVID-19? Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Current belief at this time is that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure. This is based on current understanding of the incubation periods of other novel coronaviruses (such as MERS).

How is COVID-19 Transmitted? Most coronaviruses are transmitted through direct contact and through close contact with respiratory droplets. Many details about this novel coronavirus are unknown, including the ease of human-to-human transmission and severity of illness. Current research suggests the following as probable routes of transmission:

  • Inhaling respiratory droplets excreted when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Exposure to objects or surfaces that are contaminated with infected respiratory droplets

If coronaviruses usually cause mild illness in humans, how could this new coronavirus be responsible for a potentially life-threatening disease such as COVID-19? There is not enough information about the new virus to determine the full range of illness that it might cause. Coronaviruses have occasionally been linked to pneumonia in humans, especially people with weakened immune systems. The viruses also can cause severe disease in animals, including cats, dogs, pigs, mice and birds.

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