2020 Coronavirus Outbreak – How Does It Affect Willow Grove, PA?
Recent news reports suggest the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a global health concern.
You must call ahead if you suspect you have symptoms of COVID19.
This page was lasted updated on 3/17/20
In Wuhan City, China, at the beginning of January 2020, doctors noted a new illness affecting the population in the city and the surrounding area. Researchers determined it was a coronavirus; however, it was unlike any virus they had ever seen before. Initially, it was named 2019-nCov, before being named COVID-19 on February 11th, 2020. The virus can easily be transmitted to humans and is considered to be contagious. Unlike other illnesses, it has the ability to cause severe symptoms that can threaten the lives of those who are infected. Unofficial reports suggest that the spread of this disease is much worse than what is currently being reported. By the end of January of 2020, several major cities in China were under quarantine and lockdown. In other areas of the country, public transportation has been suspended. Many major airlines are no longer flying to China. On January 30th, the World Health Organization declared the 2019-nCov (now known as COVID-19) virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On January 30th, the State Department issued a Level 4: Do No Travel advisory asking all citizens to avoid travel to China and those in the country to depart immediately. With the continued outbreak of this virus, the State Department also issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel warning for:
A Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution was issued for:
Many other countries have sealed their borders to foreign nationals to slow the rate of infections.
Many in the Willow Grove area have questions about this new coronavirus, COVID-19. Below are common questions we have been asked and the answers to them. This page on our website will be kept up to date as best as possible, but it is not updated in real-time.
As the news continues to come out regarding the virus’s spread, our neighbors in the Willow Grove area have come to our clinic with questions and concerns. We have put together a page of common questions and the answers to them. We intend to keep this page as up to date as possible. However, keep in mind that this page is not updated in real-time.
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Are there any confirmed cases in Willow Grove, PA?
As of March 17th, there have been confirmed infections in Montgomery County of COVID-19. There have been confirmed infections in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and in other counties in Pennsylvania. The increasing spread of infections has led to the closure of school districts and nonessential businesses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
During a press conference with Gov. Tom Wolf, Dr. Levine stated:
“Further spread of this virus throughout the nation will likely occur. We encourage people to prepare for potential life disruptions. The same family emergency plans and kits that we use to prepare for flu or norovirus, and even snowstorms and floods, are important now. Pennsylvanians should continue to help stop the spread of viruses by washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if you are sick.”
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus? How long do they take to appear?
Many people mistake the onset of this novel coronavirus for the flu, a cold, or an upper respiratory infection as they both share many similar symptoms.
These symptoms include:
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Muscle Pain
However, unlike a cold, the flu, or an upper respiratory infection, there is a higher chance of it causing some life-threatening complications such as:
- Fever of over 100.4F
- Trouble Breathing
Doctors believe symptoms begin to appear within two to fourteen days, although recent reports suggest they appear on the sooner end of that scale, rather than the latter. However, there are reports of the incubation time of this virus extended as long as 24 days. Whether or not someone is contagious before they show symptoms are is not yet determined, but it is assumed to be possible.
I heard Governor Wolf closed all businesses in Pennsylvania, is your urgent care center open?
Yes, AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove is open for its normal business hours. The order was to close all nonessential businesses. Since we are an urgent care center, we are deemed to be essential and will remain open unless ordered to close.
Can I be tested for a COVID-19 infection at AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove?
Testing is not currently available at AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove. Please contact your primary care physician or the Pennsylvania Department of Health for guidance if you feel you could be showing signs of infection.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
As this is a new virus that doctors have not seen before, there is no vaccine at this time. A flu shot was not designed to protect you from this illness and will offer no protection, although you should still get one to protect you from this year’s flu season. A COVID-19 vaccine is likely months or years away from mass production and available to the public.
How does someone become infected from COVID-19?
The virus is thought to have originated from an animal before jumping to humans. Once someone is infected, the coronavirus infects via person to person transmission. Studies suggest that this contagious virus can remain active on surfaces for some time if the conditions are right.
I don’t feel well, and I have some of these symptoms. Am I infected? What are the risk factors for the COVID-19 coronavirus?
COVID-19 is now causing “Community Infections” meaning authorities are having trouble determining where infections are coming from. The virus is in the “community” hence the term, “community infection.” With that said, just because you are feeling unwell does not exactly mean you are suffering from COVID-19. There are a number of upper respiratory infections out there as well as the flu. The two red flags that you may have COVID-19 are:
- A dry cough that produces no phlegm or mucus
- A fever.
There is a higher chance of contracting COVID-19 if you have traveled from China or Europe in the last 14 days or have traveled through an area of the United States with widespread infections.
If you have traveled to these areas or have the two symptoms above, do not visit AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove without first calling. Speak with our staff about your symptoms, concerns, and if you are at risk for COVID-19. We can not treat COVID-19, but we may be able to determine it is something else over the phone. Please call so we can provide guidance.
How can I prevent an infection from COVID-19?
Practicing proper hygiene and following guidelines to reduce your risk of the flu will significantly lower your infection chances.
Some guidelines to follow include:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching surfaces and then your face
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Cover your nose and mouth if you feel sick
- Avoid groups of 10 or more
For additional protection
- Avoid live animal markets
- Cook food thoroughly
- Wear a surgical mask & eye protection
Is the coronavirus related to SARS or MERS? Why is it called COVID-19?
COVID-19, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are all coronaviruses. Under the microscope, these viruses look like they are wearing a crown of sorts. COVID-19 is more closely related to SARS, which was first seen in Asia, than MERS, which was discovered in Saudi Arabia.
The World Health Organization originally called this coronavirus 2019-nCov, before deciding a permanent name of COVID-19. They no longer name new infections after animals, like bird flu, or refer to a geographical location, like Lyme Disease. COVID-19 denotes the year it was first detected (2019) and that it is a new coronavirus. Another name some scientists use to describe this virus is SARS-CoV-2 or “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.”
AFC Urgent Care’s walk-in clinic in Willow Grove, PA, is up to date with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Do you have questions about the coronavirus? Feel free to call if you have any questions!