The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also called just “the coronavirus,” causes the disease COVID-19.
This coronavirus is highly contagious. It spreads from person to person through liquid droplets that are produced when you cough, sneeze, laugh, breathe, sing or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or be inhaled into their lungs. The coronavirus can also live in the air and on surfaces for an unknown period of time. It can then spread when you inhale infected air or touch an infected surface and then touch your face.
If you have the coronavirus, you can spread it to others even if you don’t feel sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms. This is called asymptomatic spread.
COVID-19 symptoms may be mild to severe and include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experience any of the above symptoms, stay away from other people so you don’t get them sick. Call your healthcare provider or a clinic right away. They can help you determine whether you need medical evaluation, including testing.
The following are emergency warning signs of COVID-19:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If someone is showing any of these signs, seek immediate medical attention. If you are unable to reach your doctor promptly, call 911.
These are the most common symptoms of COVID-19; this list does not include ALL possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for 15 minutes or more over the course of 1 day with or without a mask or face covering. If you have had close contact with a person with confirmed or presumptive COVID-19, call your medical provider and stay home and away from others.
If you are unvaccinated for COVID-19 and you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, quarantine keeps you from spreading the coronavirus to other people. You can spread the coronavirus to other people even if you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms. To quarantine, stay home and at least 6 feet away from everyone, including the people you live with. Please do NOT go to work, the grocery store or pharmacy; have friends over; or exercise in a group.
As of April 26, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority recommends that unvaccinated persons who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days. Fully vaccinated people — those who received the final dose of their vaccine series at least two weeks ago and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms — do not need to quarantine.
Isolation keeps you from spreading the coronavirus to others if you are sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms.
If you are sick and think or know you have COVID-19, stay home and away from others until:
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms appeared AND
- You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication AND
- Your symptoms have improved
If you tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms, stay home and away from others until:
- At least 10 days have passed since you tested positive
The Oregon Health Authority and the Hood River County Health Department count positive and presumptive cases together.
COVID-19 is diagnosed by two methods: testing positive and clinically — the latter called a presumptive diagnosis. Once a person who tests negative is given a presumptive diagnosis, they have COVID-19, regardless of further testing. There is no “correction” of presumptive cases to positive cases.
A person is presumed to have COVID-19 if they present COVID-19-like symptoms; have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19; and are clinically diagnosed as having COVID-19 in absence of another diagnosis (i.e., if their symptoms cannot be attributed to a disease other than COVID-19) but test negative.
People with presumed COVID-19 must follow the same isolation protocols as those who have a laboratory-confirmed positive test.
To protect the privacy of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Hood River County Health Department does not release any personal or potentially identifying information about those individuals. Please remember that the coronavirus is widespread in our community and is not limited to those who have tested positive.
The Oregon Health Authority releases information about long-term-care facility outbreaks in its COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report. This report lists cases and deaths in the state’s care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings that have three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more deaths.
The Oregon Health Authority releases information about workplace outbreaks in its COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report. To protect privacy, OHA is only reporting workplace outbreaks with five or more cases and only for workplaces with at least 30 workers. Case counts include all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts.
The Oregon Health Authority publishes hospitalization data by region and by hospital here. Note that the region refers to the location of the hospital, not the residence of the patient. These data do not reflect the specific number of Hood River County residents hospitalized for COVID-19.
The Hood River County Health Department does not report recovered cases because it is not an indicator of disease resolution. People with COVID-19 (positive and presumptive cases) are released from isolation after remaining away from others for at least 10 days after illness onset. Recovery refers to those who have left isolation and are alive for 60 days. This does not mean that their symptoms have completely resolved or that they will not become infected with COVID-19 again.
To protect the privacy of people who have died and their families, the Hood River County Health Department releases only the age of the person who died in decile (e.g., 20s, 70s, 80s). Additional information, such as place of residence or place of employment, will not be released.
The Oregon Health Authority reports school health metrics that help schools make reopening decisions. The health department consults with schools in the county to review health and safety protocols. Please direct questions about the decision-making process on reopening schools to the specific school district or private school your child attends.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has genetic mutations that have been emerging and circulating around the world throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. One variant, B.1.1.7, has now become the dominant variant in Oregon statewide. B.1.1.7 is 50% more transmissible and may cause more severe disease. The good news is that it appears that COVID-19 vaccines are effective against B.1.1.7. OHA reports COVID-19 variant counts here.
The CDC has travel tips for domestic and international travel on its website. There are different travel recommendations for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
If you are traveling with children who can’t get vaccinated at this time, it’s safest to follow recommendations for unvaccinated people.
Everyone should continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.