COVID-19 virus belongs to a large family of coronaviruses, some of which cause illness in humans
COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the COVID-19 virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2 virus
Some coronaviruses cause only minor respiratory symptoms like those of a cold, whereas other coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS CoV), have been associated with more serious and life-threatening diseases
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified COVID-19 as causing an outbreak of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and early 2020
Concomitant viral or bacterial pathogens at presentation have not been widely described. Secondary bacterial infection can occur, particularly in those receiving mechanical ventilation
Transmission occurs primarily via respiratory droplets, or aerosols during aerosol generating procedures
It is unclear how easily the virus spreads through contact with surfaces or objects
Fecal shedding has been identified but fecal-oral spread is not a significant driver of transmission
The incubation period is approximately 5 days (median), but ranges from 1-14 days
A person may be infectious for up to 3 days before showing symptoms
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold; there are no specific symptoms or signs that can reliably distinguish COVID-19.
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
loss of sense of taste or smell
Some people experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, respiratory failure, shock or multi-organ dysfunction.
Older people or those with chronic illnesses may be at higher risk for a more severe form of the disease. Examples of comorbidities and other conditions associated with severe illness and mortality include cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic lung disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, obesity and smoking.
Personal Protective Equipment
Aerosol-generating medical procedures (AGMPs)
Specimen Collection & Laboratory Testing
Disease Severity and Progression
Clinical Management and Treatment
Additional Resources and Tools
Guideline adapted from the Fraser Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Program