- Basics – What is a novel coronavirus?
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.
- Why is the disease being called coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.
- Spread – How does the virus spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many 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.
- Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be spread through food?
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day use a tissue to cover your coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
- Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?
It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like those that cause 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. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.
- What is community spread?
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. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your health department’s website.
HOW CAN I GET TESTING OR TREATMENT FOR COVID-19
COVID-19 testing and treatment is available to everyone in New Jersey regardless of their insurance or immigration status. Below you will find resources for free testing and treatment as well as how to apply for health insurance.
Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), provide free health care and COVID-19 testing whether you have insurance or not and regardless of your immigration status.
Immigration officials have confirmed that testing, treatment, and preventative care related to COVID-19 will not negatively affect your public charge analysis.
Individuals with urgent symptoms may also continue to access services at acute care hospitals. The COVID-19 testing cost will be waived for uninsured individuals eligible for charity care. Information on the Charity Care Program can be found at: https://www.nj.gov/health/charitycare. You should talk to a medical provider before going to your local hospital.
HEALTH INSURANCE – If you do not have health insurance or lose coverage, you may be eligible for free or low-cost coverage (www.njfamilycare.org) through NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program. NJ Family Care includes CHIP, Medicaid and Medicaid expansion populations and covers doctor visits, prescriptions, vision, dental care, mental health and substance use services and even hospitalization.
If you have experienced a life-changing event, such as losing job-based health coverage, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period that would allow you to presently enroll in health coverage. If you or anyone in your household lost qualifying health coverage in the past 60 days OR expects to lose coverage in the next 60 days, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Visit GetCoveredNJ (www.getcovered.nj.gov) to see if you qualify or go directly to www.healthcare.gov to enroll in coverage. Trained professionals are available to help with enrollment. You can reach a trained navigator by phone, by calling the Center for Family Services Statewide Navigator Enrollment Hotline at 1-877-9-NAVIG8 (1-877-962-8448).
- Covid-19 testing is also available through UHIP”s partnering organizations. See UHIP’S calendar for scheduled dates and locations open to the public.