COVID-19: Your Safety is Our Priority

At Georgia Highlands Medical Services, we’ve put extra precautions in place for you. Whether you have an appointment or need to visit us for urgent sick care, we’re working hard to keep your family safe.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly affect animals but sometimes affect humans too. They usually attack the upper respiratory tract—nose, sinuses and throat. A coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like spikes on its surface, visible under a microscope (“corona” means crown in Latin). Some types of coronavirus cause mild symptoms like the common cold, while others, like SARS or MERS, are more dangerous.

Scientists are still learning about this new coronavirus that causes a disease known as COVID-19. COVID-19 is also called the “novel” coronavirus because this particular strain has never been seen before.

What are common COVID-19 symptoms?

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.
 
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
 
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

How does COVID-19 spread?

Like a cold or the flu, COVID-19 usually spreads from close person-to-person contact—about 6 feet—through large respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes. Smaller droplets may linger in the air for some time in confined spaces and also spread COVID-19. The virus may also spread when droplets land on surfaces that people touch.

How can I prevent COVID-19

The best way to avoid infection is to avoid exposure. It is always a good idea to keep your guard up and not just against this virus. Here are other simple steps you can take to lower your risk of catching or spreading illness:

  • Cloth face coverings (masks) are proven to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and the flu.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching tissues. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as doorknobs, tables and handrails, to help prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, unless you or your child needs medical care.
  • Limit attendance at large public gatherings and events.
  • Limit gatherings of family members and friends not in the same household.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is a practice to help stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease like COVID-19. It is a way to deliberately increase the physical space between people to help avoid spreading illness, as staying at least 6 feet away from others can help lessen your chance of catching the virus.

Other examples of social distancing may include:

  • Working from home instead of the office.
  • Closing schools and/or switching to online classes.
  • Connecting with others digitally rather than in person.
  • Avoiding eating out or going to stores where there may be large crowds. many people in a relatively small space.

Additional COVID-19 Video Resources

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

mRNA vaccines have been developed using technology that has been around for almost 20 years. Scientists have tried to use the technology to make vaccines against a number of infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines mimic an infection in our bodies that makes them make an immune response—not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if we are exposed to the real or “wild-type” virus. mRNA vaccines do not affect or interact with our own DNA. The message from mRNA vaccines is short-lived and disappears after our immune system responds. Read more on the CDC website.