COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a newly identified coronavirus discovered in China in late 2019. This new virus is known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
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It comes from the coronavirus family, a large classification of viruses estimated to cause roughly one-third of all cases of the common cold. While some coronaviruses cause illnesses in people, others only circulate among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people. The virus causing COVID-19 may have emerged from an animal source, and it is now able to spread from person to person.

Our Approach

There are currently no approved ways to treat or cure COVID-19. People with COVID-19 may receive supportive care to help relieve COVID-19 symptoms. Patients with mild or moderate symptoms may also be asked to self-quarantine at home in order to prevent spreading the virus to others. In severe cases, a person may require hospitalization, ventilator treatment, and intensive care unit (ICU) support.

University of Minnesota researchers have partnered with our experts to launch new clinical trials aimed at discovering potential treatments for COVID-19.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

There are now approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19 being distributed, but the best protection is to avoid exposure to the virus from others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking the following steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose; before eating or preparing food; or after using the restroom.
  • If you’re unable to wash your hands with soap, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in a lined trash can.
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces often.
  • Follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health, including recommendations to stay home and avoid crowds.

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