woman coughing

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Hotline
The New York State Department of Health has set up a hotline at (888) 364-3065 where Department of Health experts will be available to answer questions regarding COVID-19. As of Feb. 3, 2020, the hotline is expected to be staffed Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is a novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. A novel coronavirus was identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019 (COVID-19). This novel coronavirus has since been identified outside of China, in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States which had its first case confirmed on 1/20/20. Multiple cases have been confirmed in the U.S. since then and it is possible that more cases of COVID-19 will be identified in the future. For the most recent case information, visit CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Situation Summary.

Where can I find the most recent information about 2019-nCoV?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. For the latest information about COVID-19, visit CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019.

How are coronaviruses spread?
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Most patients with COVID-19 have had links to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting person-to-person spread is occurring.

Can coronaviruses be transmitted from person to person?
Yes, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household, workplace, or health care setting.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus infection?
It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

What should I do if I (or someone I know) traveled to China?
If you recently travelled to China or have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to the doctor's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. Most people will recover on their own after resting and drinking plenty of fluids. To relieve symptoms, people with the virus can take pain and fever medication, use a room humidifier or take hot showers to help ease a sore throat and cough.

What can I do to protect myself?
Good hand washing practices and respiratory hygiene, safe food practices, and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing are the best ways to prevent coronavirus infection.

Additional Resources