You’ve likely been hearing quite a bit about COVID-19—the disease caused by the coronavirus—in the news lately. Our medical staff at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare wants to help our patients and families better understand COVID-19 and how to stay healthy and be prepared.  
 
“COVID-19 is a new type of virus that can cause mild or moderate symptoms, but can also cause severe illness and in some cases, be deadly,” says Micah Niermann, MD, a pediatrician and Medical Director at Gillette Children’s. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Like the common cold or the flu, someone sick with COVID-19 can spread the disease to others. 
 
The best places to go for the latest information on the disease, including the countries with the highest cases and with travel advisories are The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

What You Can Do

COVID-19There are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Taking these steps will be especially important for Gillette patients who may be more vulnerable to infection. To start:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. 
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask or an N95 respirator to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. 
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). 

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 

What to Do if You’re Experiencing Symptoms 

If you’ve traveled to an area that has known cases of COVID-19 and you’re experiencing severe symptoms or think you may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, get medical attention.  

“Before you seek medical care, call ahead to let your primary care doctor know that you’re coming and that you think may have COVID-19,” Niermann says. “That way, they can take actions before you arrive that will protect others from becoming infected.” 

Similarly, if you have an appointment at Gillette and are experiencing symptoms and have either traveled to areas with COVID-19 or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please call us before you arrive.  


For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s website at cdc.gov, or visit the MDH's page with live updates

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