As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, uncertainty and confusion seem to spread along with it. At Atrium Health, we’re on the front lines of this pandemic – and we’re here to make sure you stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information.

| 2 years ago

8 Things You Should Know About Coronavirus

As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, uncertainty and confusion seem to spread along with it. At Atrium Health, we’re on the front lines of this pandemic – and we’re here to make sure you stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information.

Last updated: Monday, April 20, 2020

Wondering what to do if you get sick? Or how you can help during the COVID-19 outbreak? We’ve got you covered. Here are 8 key things everyone should know right now.

1. The symptoms of COVID-19

As we see more cases of COVID-19, we’re learning more about how the virus affects people. Some people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. When COVID-19 does cause symptoms, they typically appear within 2 to 14 days of exposure to the virus and are often similar to what you might experience with a cold or the flu.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smell and/or taste

For most people who are otherwise healthy, the symptoms are mild and don’t cause serious health problems. But sometimes, COVID-19 causes more severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to wake up, and bluish lips or face.  

If you or someone around you has life-threatening symptoms, call 911 immediately. 

2. What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 

First, try to stay calm. We’re here to help you get the care you need to start feeling better, 24/7. 

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage you to:

  • Stay home. Most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and can recover at home.
  • Get assessed and cared for from home.In addition to virtual care options, we’re offering free online and phone risk assessments for COVID-19 that can help you identify the best next steps for care. Get started here.
  • Call ahead for in-person care. If you need in-person care for severe symptoms, call before you arrive at the doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency room. This will help your healthcare providers take steps to get you the right care and keep others from being exposed.

3. Who’s at risk for COVID-19 

While rumors have circulated that some people can’t catch COVID-19, the truth is that all groups are at risk. Even if you’re young or otherwise healthy, it’s important to take precautions.

“We see representation across all age groups, racial lines, ethnicities and more,” says Sveta Mohanan, MD, a family medicine physician at Atrium Health. “This affects a broad swath of society.” 

Certain groups, including those over 65 years old and those who have compromised immune systems, are more likely to have severe infections, but all people are susceptible to infection and to passing the virus onto others.

For more information about how COVID-19 affects specific groups, read these posts:

 And see more myths about coronavirus (corrected by doctors) in this blog post.

4. How you can protect yourself and others

At Atrium Health, we’re taking strong action to prevent the spread of the virus and providing the best possible care to those who need it. But to have the best outcome, we’re counting on our community to take action, too.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Stay home as much as possible, even if you feel well.
  • Wear a cloth face covering (or mask) if you need to go out in public.
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from anyone that doesn’t live in your home.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands or gloves.
  • Avoid contact with someone who’s sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay informed with accurate information.

Looking for ways to stay social during social distancing? Check out this infographic.

5. Why wearing a mask is a good idea

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest recommendation, almost everyone should wear a cloth face covering, or mask, out in public. That's because we now know COVID-19 can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms. 

You might not be used to wearing a mask to the grocery store or seeing others in them. But like social distancing, it’s another easy way we can work together to get through this. 

To learn how cloth masks protect others, plus how you can make one at home without sewing, read this blog post.

6. How to get mental health care

Coping with COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone. And as you take steps to protect your physical health, remember to take care of your mental health, too.

If you’re feeling down or anxious and need someone to talk to, we’re here for you. Please call our 24/7 Behavioral Health Help Line at 704-444-2400 to speak to a licensed professional.

7. Ways you can help during coronavirus

Just by staying home, you’re doing a big part to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you’re looking for other ways to help, there are things you can do right now:

  • Thank local health heroes. Show your support for healthcare professionals in your community. Send a thank-you note online, or put a sign outside your home so they see it on their way to work.
  • Share positivity. We’re not just cheering each other up – we're cheering each other on. Color your sidewalks with chalk art, hang string lights outside and inspire positive thinking close to home.
  • Give what you can. Whether it’s sewing masks or giving blood, there are lots of ways you can give back and help save lives.

Despite the physical distance, we’re more together than ever. See other ways you can help at

8. How to stay informed

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve very quickly, and with so much information out there, it can be hard to separate rumors from facts. To stay informed, we recommend the following trustworthy resources.

Local resources:

  • For information about how to find care and frequently asked questions, visit View the site in Spanish at
  • For regular updates from Atrium Health experts and breaking news, visit our COVID-19 hub.
  • If you have questions about COVID-19, call our 24/7 Health Line at 704-468-8888.
  • Want more info? Text COVID to 31493 and get coronavirus updates – like advice from doctors and prevention tips – sent right to your phone.

National and state resources: