Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

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What Southwest is Doing

Southwest will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available. The College has an Emergency Preparedness Plan that it is following as the situation develops and is responding accordingly. You may review the College’s Emergency Response Plan online. In addition, the College is taking every precaution to provide a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Custodial Services is cleaning and disinfecting touchable surfaces per usual protocol, but also will undergo refresher training on proper use and application of cleaning products and follow recommended CDC guidelines to combat the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, hand sanitizing stations will be deployed throughout the college in the coming weeks to further reduce the likelihood of the spread of infectious disease. Cafeteria Services currently follows strict guidelines for sanitation as mandated by the Health Department. Cafeteria staff also will follow recommendations published by The National Restaurant Association to protect customers and employees from Coronavirus. Extra tissues and napkins will be provided to use for coughs or sneezes, along with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Stay tuned to this website for updates on the College’s response and activities.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Basics

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control,

A novel Coronavirus is a new Coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the Coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged Coronaviruses.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website. United States case counts are updated regularly on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. See the current U.S. case count of COVID-19.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

How to Protect Yourself

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control,

Visit the COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. Two other Coronaviruses have emerged previously to cause severe illness in people (MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV). The virus that causes COVID-19 is more genetically related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are beta Coronaviruses with their origins in bats. While we don’t know for sure that this virus will behave the same way as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, we can use the information gained from both of these earlier Coronaviruses to guide us. In general, because of poor survivability of these Coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. Information will be provided on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) website as it becomes available.

It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

Symptoms and Testing

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control,

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever1, cough, and difficulty breathing. Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.