What is COVID-19? | Coronavirus Resources | Loyola Medicine

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new or novel, coronavirus. It is highly contagious. COVID-19 is transmitted person-to-person, with illnesses ranging from mild to severe. Person-to-person spread means being in close contact with an infected person or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. We are learning new information about this virus every day, including what is effective in stopping the spread and potential treatments.

Older people, especially those with a history of underlying health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, seem to be at the greatest risk of complications if exposed to the coronavirus.


Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you feel sick with a fever, cough, have difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, please call our Patient Access Center at 888-584-7888, Monday through Friday from 7 am – 4:30 pm.

*According to the CDC

What to Do if You Feel Sick

If you have a fever, trouble breathing or are coughing, call your doctor or a health care provider to set up an appointment to be tested. As a first step, please explain your symptoms over the phone before going to the doctor’s office, an immediate care center or emergency department.

Make sure to tell your doctor if you have traveled internationally. You should also mention if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19:

  • There are some treatments (Remdesivir and Dexamethasone for example) — but no cure — for COVID-19 today.
  • Several other potential therapies, such as convalescent plasma, are being studied, including at Loyola Medicine.
  • Hydroxychloroquine has NOT been proven to be effective, as demonstrated by several randomized clinical trials. Patients may possibly become even more sick on this therapy.

Protecting Yourself Against COVID-19

  • Wear masks anytime your leave your home, anytime you are with anyone outside of your household, in all indoor spaces and in all outdoor and public places where other people are present.  
  • Physical distance yourself from others by standing or sitting at least six feet apart. Avoid crowds, events or activities with small, medium and large gatherings.
  • Washing your hands is the most effective thing you can do to slow the spread of COVID-19.

It is essential that you stay home if you feel ill.