In light of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the Beloit Daily News in partnership with Beloit Health System to create an FAQ for readers on COVID-19. If you have a question that's not answered here, you can submit it to us.

Q: What is Coronavirus?

A:  Coronavirus (also called COVID-19) is a flu-like virus that is spread by coughing and sneezing, which releases droplets (a tiny drop of liquid from saliva) that can fall into the air and onto surfaces within an area of 6 feet.


Q: What are the signs and symptoms?

A:  Fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.


Q:  Is there a treatment?

A:  At this time there is no treatment and there is no vaccine, although scientists are working on developing a vaccine.  Patients with severe symptoms are often hospitalized for management of dehydration with intravenous fluids, oxygen for difficulty breathing, and medications to help reduce high fever.


Q: How long is it contagious?

A: You are contagious between 2-14 days and do not have to have symptoms to be spreading the virus.


Q: Should I get tested to make sure I don’t have COVID-19?

A: The CDC is only allowing testing to be done on patients who are hospitalized with severe symptoms and healthcare workers with symptoms, and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, immune compromised diseases, on maintenance steroids.   This is to help reserve testing supplies because the CDC does not have an unlimited supply of testing kits.


Q: Why are people of dying from COVID-19?

A:  Like the flu, older individuals and those with other serious health issues or chronic medical conditions, such an immunocompromising and respiratory conditions like COPD, may be at risk for more severe outcomes.


Q: Who has the most risk of catching COVID-19?

A: Those at greatest risk of infection are those who have had prolonged, unprotected close contact with a patient who has symptoms and has been confirmed to have COVID-19, and those who live in or have recently traveled to countries with an outbreak.


Q: Am I at risk of catching it if I haven’t traveled and not in close contact with someone who has tested positive with symptoms?

A: Because the United States and Wisconsin is seeing cases with no point of origin (known as community spread), the risk of catching COVID-19 is increasing.


Q: How can I protect myself and/or my family?

A: COVID-19 is like the flu; so the following will help reduce the chance you will catch it:

  • Perform good hand washing with soap and water

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first

  • Disinfect highly touched surfaces like doorknobs using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

  • Stay home if you are sick

  • Avoid crowds and public places

  • Cover your cough and sneeze, and wash your hands immediately after; throw used facial tissues in trash containers

  • Wear a mask if you have a cough or are sneezing; there is no need to wear a mask if you are well and have no symptoms

  • Practice social distancing:  keep 6 feet between you and other people in public places, do not gather in groups of more than 8 people at a time and spread out if you must meet together, avoid places like restaurants, retail shopping centers, bars, and areas where larger groups of people congregate.


Q: Can the virus live on bus poles, keyboards, doorknobs?

A: Yes, just like the flu, virus germs can survive on surfaces.


Q: Should I wear a mask?

A: Per the CDC, there is no reason to wear a mask unless you are sick.  Wearing a mask will not stop you from catching the virus, but if you are sick with a cough or sneezing, it will protect others from catching it. 

Q: Should I worry about my pets catching COVID-19?

A: The virus is spread from person-to-person. The CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.  At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

Q: Should I cancel my trip?

A: All of Europe, Italy, Iran, China, Ireland, Great Britain, to name a few, are among the Leve 3 travel warning list by the CDC.  Globally all other countries are at Level 2. A list of countries and their travel notices is available at


Q: Are layovers included in the CDC’s recommendation to avoid non-essential travel?

A: Yes. Layovers in airports are included in the CDC’s recommendation to avoid.  If a layover is unavoidable, they recommend travelers do not leave the airport. Travelers with layovers may be subject to screening and monitoring when entering the U.S.


Q:  If I traveled for business when can I return to work?

A:  The CDC states anyone who enters the U.S. after travel abroad will have some level of restriction on their movements.

  • Travelers from countries on the Level 3 travel warning list are being asked to monitor their health and practice social distancing for 14 days.

  • Travelers from countries on the Level 2 travel list list are being asked to monitor their health and take your temperature two times a day and monitor for fever 100.4 or higher.  Also watch for cough or trouble breathing. In addition, you should practice social distancing.

  • Social distancing means staying out of public places, workplaces (unless the person works in an office space that allows distancing from others), schools and classroom settings, and avoiding local transportation such as bus, subway, taxi, ride share, plane, ship).


Q:  Should I travel within the U.S.?

A:  Things to consider before travel:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you are going?

  • Will you be in close contact with others during your trip?

  • Are you more likes to get severe illness if you get COVID-19 (in a high risk group)?

  • Do you have a plan for taking off from work/school in case you are told to stay home for self-monitoring or quarantine if you get sick with COVID-19?

  • Do you live with someone or around others who have a serious, chronic medical condition that puts them at higher risk of severe symptoms?

Depending on your unique circumstances you may need to delay or cancel your plans.



Revised 3/19/20


Have a question about COVID-19 and it's not part of the FAQ? The Beloit Daily News in partnership with Beloit Health System is accepting questions you may have about COVID-19.

Please click the link below to submit your questions.