Novel Coronavirus FAQs

Madison County Health Department has prepared Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Madison County Residents

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)? 
The 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus is a virus that causes a disease called COVID-19. The most common symptoms include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The virus is spread person-to-person, either in close contact (6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Who is most at-risk for serious illness from COVID-19? 
Older adults, pregnant women, and individuals of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, lung disease).
What can I do to prevent spread of germs?  

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.   
  • Practice social distancing – avoid get togethers with friends and family, and unnecessary trips to public places   
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.   
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects in the household common areas (i.e. tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes).  

How can my family and I prepare for COVID-19? 

  • Make sure you have enough medications to last you if you get sick and need to stay home while you are sick. Ask your doctor or insurance provider about an extended supply or mail-order options.  
  • Have a supply of fever reducing medication at home, like acetaminophen (Tylenol)   
  • Stock up on a week or two of foods and drinks

What should I do if someone in my house gets sick? 

  • Call your primary healthcare provider. If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, call the NYS Department of Health Hotline: 1-888-364-3065.  
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care  
  • Use a separate room and bathroom for sick household members (if possible).  
  • Wash hands regularly (see above directions) and disinfect high-touch surfaces.   
  • Avoid sharing personal items like utensils, TV remotes, food and drinks.  
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*: 
    • 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 symptom that is severe or concerning.

What is social distancing? 
When there are no treatment options, health officials use community mitigation strategies to slow the spread of contagious disease. Community mitigation is critically important for protecting individuals most vulnerable to COVID-19 and reducing strain on the health care system. Social distancing is an effect mitigation strategy.

  • Avoid get togethers with people outside your household 
  • If you do see people, do not shake hands, hug or kiss when greeting people 
  • Maintaining at a least six feet apart from others in public
  • Working at home 
  • Closing schools and providing remote learning instruction to students
  • Cancel unnecessary appointments
  • Cancel unnecessary travel plans 
  • Do not hold meetings in person, please use digital mediums

Who should get tested for COVID-19? 
At this time, local health officials are using the NYS Department of Health recommendations, and are focusing on only testing the people with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) that fall into one of these categories:  

1. Has come into close contact (same office, classroom, gatherings) of another person known to be positive; or
2. Has traveled to a country that the CDC has issued a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice; or
3. Is currently under quarantine; or  
4. Has already tested negative for other types of infections (rapid flu tests, respiratory panel).  
5. Other cases where the facts and circumstances warrant as determined by the treating healthcare provider in consultation with state and local department of health officials.      

 *CDC Travel Health Notice:
Only residents who meet one of the above testing criteria should contact their healthcare provider to get tested. This will allow healthcare providers and MCHD to focus on the residents with the most need.
What happens after an individual is tested for COVID-19? 
While awaiting test results, patients will be placed on quarantine to protect the health of others. Our Department will work with the patient before they leave their healthcare provider’s office to determine the best location. MCHD will remain in contact with the patient daily until the test results are reported.

Can COVID-19 be treated? 
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 and there is currently no vaccine. People infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment in a hospital might be required. Call your healthcare provider to find out more about what care and treatment is available to you. 

Should I wear a face mask to prevent getting COVID-19? 
CDC does not recommend that the general public use face masks. Instead, people should cover their coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, and wash their hands often and thoroughly.  However, if you are sick with COVID-19 (or any respiratory illness), you should wear a face mask before going inside a healthcare provider’s office or a hospital. 

Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19? 
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. While CDC recommends that people traveling to affected countries avoid animals both live and dead, there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with COVID-19. 

Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipping from a country with widespread transmission of COVID-19? 
Currently there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. 

 How can I help high-risk individuals in my community? 

  • Reach out to individuals over the phone 
  • Offer your help to get groceries, prescriptions, and other necessities  

What can I do to manage my stress related to the coronavirus disease? 
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Taking care of yourself, your friends and family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

  • Take breaks from watching or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.  
  • Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, meditate, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol & drugs. 
  • Connect with people by phone, and express your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Call the Madison County Mental Health Crisis line at 315-366-2327 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

How long does the COVID-19 virus last on surfaces?
COVID-19 coronavirus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The researchers also found that this virus can hang out as droplets in the air for up to three hours before they fall. But most often they will fall more quickly.

Follow the CDC’s recommendations for cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.

  • If surfaces are dirty, first clean them using a detergent and water.
  • After cleaning, disinfect surfaces and objects with products suitable pre-approved for COVID-19:
  • List of products is available here:
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after bringing in packages, or after trips to the grocery store or other places where you may have come into contact with infected surfaces.


For More Information:   
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) -
New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) -

Updated March 27, 4:00 PM