Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


  • COVID-19 virus is a Betacoronavirus, related to the viruses that cause SARS and MERS

  • COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the COVID-19 virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2 virus

  • Transmission occurs via droplets and fomites. Airborne spread is not known to occur outside of aerosol-generating procedures. Fecal shedding has been identified but fecal-oral spread is not a driver of transmission

  • Incubation period is 4 days (median), but ranges from 2-14 days

  • Concomitant viral or bacterial pathogens at presentation have not been widely described. Secondary bacterial infection can occur, particularly in those receiving mechanical ventilation

COVID-19 has been defined as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Updates are being provided by international and national agencies continuously.

More Information

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim clinical guidance for management of patients with confirmed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Updated March 7, 2020.
  2. World Health Organization. Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when COVID019 disease is suspected. Interim guidance, March 13, 2020.
  3. Metlay JP et al. Diagnosis and treatment of adults with community-acquired pneumonia. An official clinical practice guideline of the American Thoracic Society and Infectious Diseases Society of America. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019;200:e45.
  4. World Health Organization. Report of the WHO-China joint mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). February 24, 2020.
  5. Novel coronavirus pneumonia emergency response epidemiology team. The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – China, 2020. China CDC Weekly. 2020;2:113.
  6. Huang C et al. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet. 2020; 395:497.
  7. Chen N et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet. 2020;395:507.
  8. Wang D et al. Clinical characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA. 2020.
  9. Zhou F et al. Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study. Lancet. 2020.
  10. Young BE et al. Epidemiological features and clinical course of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Singapore. JAMA. 2020.
  11. Alberta Health Services. Provlab Alberta: Collection of a Nasopharyngeal and Throat Swab for Detection of Respiratory Infection Revised March 2017.

  • Prepared by the Eastern Health Infectious Diseases Division

  • Revised March 20, 2020

Guideline adapted from the Fraser Health Antimicrobial Stewardship Program