2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: March 05, 2021
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Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to COVID-19. Always follow guidance from your medical provider and local installation and public health officials.

General COVID-19 Questions

Vaccine Questions

Antibody Dependent Enhancements

Working in a COVID-19 Operational Environment

Home and Public

Healthcare Workers

Travel

More FAQs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)External Link

 

General COVID-19 Questions

Q. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

A. (From CDC)External Link People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms—ranging from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and/or diarrhea.


Q. How does COVID-19 spread?

A. COVID-19 primarily spreads from person-to-person via the respiratory droplets emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks in close proximity (about 6 feet) to a non-infected person. It may also be possible for a person to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his/her own mouth, nose, or eyes.


Q. What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

A. (From CDC) Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), and flu is caused by infection with an influenza virus. Because many of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis. The typical seasonal influenza can be prevented by an annual vaccination.

 

Q. How many infections and deaths have been associated with COVID-19 globally and within the Army community?

A. For an up-to-date assessment and visualization of the COVID-19 burden within the Army community, refer to the MEDCOM COVID-19 Common Operating Picture (COP) (CAC Enabled Site)External Link. For up-to-date information on global COVID-19 infections and deaths, please refer to the John Hopkins University (JHU) COVID-19 DashboardExternal Link.

 

Vaccine Questions

Q. How do we know if the vaccine is safe? How will you monitor and track vaccine side effects? 

A.  The Department of Defense (DoD) is confident in the stringent regulatory process and requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Manufacturers are required to submit raw data for the FDA to review. Safety, immune response, and efficacy data from clinical trials are submitted to the FDA before the vaccine is authorized for use and distribution. Per FDA requirements, DoD will monitor and track reports of vaccine side effects through various surveillance activities, both internal and external to the DoD.


Q. Where should I be vaccinated? 

A.  To the greatest extent possible, beneficiaries in priority groups who are enrolled at an MTF should be vaccinated at the MTF. This will ensure the maximum number of vaccine opportunities allocated to jurisdictions other than DoD are available for the non-DoD population. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through their local civilian jurisdiction.


Q. What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work?  

A. The Army recommends supervisors conduct screening according to The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines. They do not cause COVID-19 disease in recipients. The vaccines give our cells instructions to make a protein unique to the virus. Our immune systems recognize the protein as foreign and build immune cells to fight the virus, should one later be infected with the virus. These vaccines do not alter the recipient’s DNA


Q. What is an adenovirus vector vaccine? 

A.  Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (in this case the adenovirus) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. This triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.


Q. Can I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding? 

A.  Yes. If you are pregnant, you may choose to be vaccinated when it’s available to you. Experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. There is limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant or lactating because it was not studied in the vaccine trials. Trials are beginning now for pregnant and lactating women. The vaccine can help reduce risk to pregnant women in certain higher risk lines of work, such as healthcare. Each person needs to make an individual decision with their health care provider regarding getting the vaccine while lactating, while pregnant, or if planning on becoming pregnant in the near future.


Q. If I've had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get the vaccine? 

A.  Yes. You should be vaccinated even if you already had COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. COVID-19 is associated with severe health risks, which the vaccine protects you from.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Speak with your doctor if you are unsure about what treatments you received, or if you have additional questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.


Q. Are Service members required to receive vaccine once one is available? 

A.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of the COVID-19 vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Under an EUA, the vaccines are voluntary for all. In the future, Service members may be required to receive the vaccine once it becomes an FDA licensed product.


CDC Frequently Asked QuestionsExternal Link

MHS Frequently Asked Questions (See page 8)External Link

COVID-19 Vax FactsExternal Link



Antibody Dependent Enhancements

Q. What are Antibody Dependent Enhancements (ADE)? 

A.  Antibody Dependent Enhancements (ADE) refer to incomplete antibody inactivation of pathogens, which permit replication within the host immune cells and prevent the host from clearing the pathogen. An ADE would potentially allow the pathogen to continue infecting the host. An ADE response may occur due to a change in the pathogen.


Q. Is Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) a risk for SARS-CoV-2? 

A.  At this time, ADE is not known to present a risk for COVID-19 immunity or the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. The predominant ADE mechanism involves macrophage replication and SARS-CoV-2 is not known to infect macrophages. The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses an alternative mechanism to infect cells in the respiratory tract.



Working in a COVID-19 Operational Environment

Q. How should personnel be screened before returning to the workplace? 

A. The Army recommends supervisors conduct screening according to Guidance for Clearing Personnel to Return to the Workplace.

Measuring body temperature outside of a healthcare setting is not an ideal screening tool for COVID-19. This is because not all individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 will develop a fever, a fever can wax and wane, and a fever may be suppressed with common over-the-counter medication. For screening purposes, the subjective account of feeling (or having felt) "feverish" is adequate.


Q. What are effective ways to practice social distancing in the workplace?

A. Consider implementing engineering and administrative controls to protect employees, such as:

  • Staggering arrival and departure times to/from the workplace
  • Minimizing contact among workers, clients, and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with electronic or virtual forms of communication.
  • Rearranging workplace seating to increase distance between individuals.
  • Installing physical barriers (e.g cubicle walls, plexiglass…) where appropriate.

Refer to Sustaining Workplace Operations Guidance for additional information.


Q. When, how, and what kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used in the workplace?

A. PPE is employed to control certain exposures for people who work in specific roles and work environments. While not classified as PPE, cloth face coverings are recommended to reduce risk of asymptomatic persons spreading droplets which could contain the virus that causes COVID-19, from their exhaled breath into their immediate environment. All DOD employees are required to wear cloth face covers or higher degree of PPE while in the workplace.

When conducting COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection, follow cleaner and disinfectant label instructions for PPE.

Surgical masks and N-95 respirators are to be reserved for use by medical personnel only. Refer to COVID-19: Face Coverings, Masks, & Respirators: Know the Difference and When to Use Them for additional information.


Q. When should face coverings be used?

A. Face coverings should be worn in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face coverings are required on DoD property, and many local regulations require face coverings to gain entrance into public buildings and/or indoor space when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Refer to Important Information about Your Face Covering for additional information.


Q. What hygiene practices should be employed to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

A. Do the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash; cough/sneeze into your elbow if tissues are unavailable

Refer to COVID-19: Prevent the Spread, Protect Yourself and Your Family for additional information.


Q. When, how, and what kind of routine cleaning should be practiced in the workplace?

A. Frequently touched surfaces (e.g., light switches, doorknobs, tabletops, keyboards) should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily with an EPA-approved cleaner/disinfectant. Refer to COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfection for additional information.


Q. What actions should be taken when an employee working on-site is known or presumed to have COVID-19?

A. Individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of being infected must isolate and not return to the workplace until either symptoms- or time-based conditions are met. Reference COVID-19: Guidance for Discontinuing Isolation in a Non-Healthcare Setting.

Additionally:

  • Take care of yourself by remaining hydrated and getting rest.
  • Stay in touch with your healthcare provider and seek care if experiencing trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or have bluish lips or face.
  • Avoid public transportation, gatherings, shopping centers, and other public venues.
  • If you are a supervisor, maintain daily accountability.

Refer to COVID-19: Guidance for Clearing Individuals with a History of Confirmed or Presumed COVID-19 Infection to Return to the Workplace for additional information.


Q. When and how should employees report having close contact with a person who is confirmed or presumed to have COVID-19?

A. Individuals who are close contacts of a person who is confirmed or presumed to have COVID-19 should immediately report their change in status to their supervisor and:

  • Quarantine at home or in quarters for at least 14 days from the time you last had close contact with the person in question. Refer to the flyer titled 10 Tips for At-Home Quarantine or Self-Monitoring for additional information.
  • During the quarantine period, the individual should take the following steps to monitor their health and practice social distancing:
  • Check body temperature with a thermometer two times per day (morning and evening). Use a temperature log to document body temperature over time.
  • Monitor symptoms for the development of a cough or trouble breathing; consult a health care provider if symptoms worsen.
  • Stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel to work or school.
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.
  • Keep distance from others (about 6 feet) and wear a cloth face covering when around others.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.htmlExternal Link

 

Home and Public

Q.  What actions should be taken to care for a household member that is ill from COVID-19?

A.  The household caregiver should advise the infected household member to stay home from work, school and away from public places, get rest, stay hydrated and exercise, as much as possible.  See additional information in the "10 Tips for At-Home Quarantine of Self-Monitoring."

Additional information is available via the CDC at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.htmlExternal Link


Q.  What actions should be taken to prevent household members from being exposed from another household member that is known or presumed to have COVID-19?

A.  As much as possible, the infected household member stay in a specific room, away from other household members; avoid sharing personal items; and clean high-touch surfaces frequently. The person who is sick should wear a mask when they are around other people and windows should be kept open to increase air circulation.  See additional information in the "10 Tips for At-Home Quarantine of Self-Monitoring" and from the CDC at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.htmlExternal Link


Q.  When, how, what kind of routine cleaning should be done in at home to prevent exposure to COVID?

A.  Clean surfaces daily using soap and water. Frequently touched surfaces including light switches, doorknobs, tabletops and keyboards should be cleaned and disinfected with an EPA-approved cleaner/disinfectant or a 1000ppm bleach solution, at least once a day.

For more information, refer to the flyer titled "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Cleaning and Disinfection"


Q.  Is it safe to order home delivery of food and other items?

A.  Coronaviruses are primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to associate the transmission of COVID-19 with food delivery. For general food safety, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before preparing or eating food.

Please refer to the following CDC recommended guidelines regarding food home delivery and meal kits at: https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/food-safety-meal-kits.htmlExternal Link.


Q.  Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?

A.  At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the information available to date, risk of animal transmission to people is low.  If you are confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19, you should try to limit close contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other household members and other people. If you are the only caretaker for your pets and you become ill, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after touching your pets. Please refer to the APHC site about pets and COVID-19 for the most up-to-date information.


Q.  Can my pet get COVID-19?         

A.  We are aware of a small number of animals in several counties, including the U.S, reported to be infected following close contact with people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. If your animal appears to be ill, contact your veterinarian just like you would for any health concern. Call ahead to ensure the veterinary clinic is prepared for your pet, and report any exposure history. Please refer to the APHC site about pets and COVID-19 for the most up-to-date information.


Q.  What behavioral health and well-being resources are available?

A.  We encourage you to navigate to the APHC site dealing with Behavioral Health Topics and Resources at: https://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/healthyliving/bh/Pages/default.aspx and also refer to the Sleep, Activity and Nutrition website (https://p3.amedd.army.mil) as these factors also impact behavioral health. Additionally, please refer to the following APHC website for information on general stress management during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Healthcare Workers

Q.  When, how, what kind of PPE should be used in a healthcare facility?

A.  Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is based on the task and environment. This guide, "COVID-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance for Healthcare Providers," provides detailed criteria for determining mask and respirator as well as other PPE usage.


Q.  What healthcare building modifications should be made to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

A.  Army Medical Treatment Facilities should use separated, well-ventilated triage areas and utilize a combination of administrative and engineering controls to maximize infection control.

Refer to TIP No. 98-108-0420 for additional information and details.


Q.  When, how, what kind of routine cleaning should be done in a healthcare facility?

A.  All non-dedicated, non-disposable medical equipment used for patient care should be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer's instructions and facility policies. Utilize routine cleaning and disinfection procedures. See CDC guidanceExternal Link for additional information.


Q.  What actions can healthcare workers take to prevent exposing their family members and close contacts to COVID-19?

A.  Utilize the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the right clinical situations. See the flyer titled COVID-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance for Healthcare Providers for additional information. Additionally, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. See the flyer titled "COVID-19: Protect Yourself and Your Family" for additional information.


Q.  What behavioral health and well-being resources are available to healthcare workers?

A.  For healthcare workers, please refer to the following CDC website titled "Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic"External Link. Additionally, please refer to the following APHC website for information on general stress management during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Travel

Q.  What is the difference between quarantine, isolation, and restriction of movement?

A.  From the Guidance for Clearing Personnel to Return to the Workplace and DODI 6200.03 (Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) within the DOD)External Link

Isolation:

Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people with the goal of minimizing further spread of disease. People who are in isolation should use dedicated facilities (e.g., room, latrines) if possible and interact with others as little as possible.

Quarantine:

Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to an infectious organism away from others. People in quarantine should stay separated from others, and limit movement. Please refer to 10 Tips for At-Home Quarantine or Self-Monitoring for additional information.

Restriction of Movement:

Restriction of Movement (ROM) is a general DOD term for limiting movement of an individual or group to prevent or diminish the transmission of a communicable disease, including limiting ingress and egress to, from, or on a military installation.

 

Q.  When is restriction of movement (ROM) required?

A.  For international travel, Service members are to conduct a pre-travel 14-day ROM, unless the Geographic Combatant Command (GCC) or host nation (HN) requires a 14-day ROM at the destination or has determined one is no longer necessary. Only one ROM is required, either before travel or after arrival, unless otherwise required by applicable HN procedures.

Prior to family members engaging in official international travel, Service members must attest that, to the best of their knowledge, their family members have followed the same requirements. 

The ROM requirement also applies to civilian and contractor personnel on official international travel.

The ROM requirement does not apply to CONUS travel.

Many states have travel-restriction or entrance requirements, including ROM. Personnel on official travel should adhere to them to the greatest degree practical. Personnel on personal travel must abide by them.

Please refer to FHP Supplement 12External Link  and the Official Travel Section of the Returning to the Workplace site for additional information or details.

 

Q.  What are some best practices for traveling safely?          

A.  Avoid travel if you or any of your travel companions are sick; Have suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 (even if you don't have symptoms); or have been around someone with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 in the past 14 days (even if they did not have symptoms).

During your trip, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

-Wear a mask or cloth face covering over your nose and mouth when in public settings.

-Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet from anyone who is not from your household.

-Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

-Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.

-Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

- Many states have travel-restriction or entrance requirements, including ROM. Personnel on official travel should adhere to them to the greatest degree practical. Personnel on personal travel must abide by them. Please refer to FHP Supplement 12External Link  and the Official Travel Section of the Returning to the Workplace site for additional information or details.

Further information about travel safety during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found on the CDC website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.htmlExternal Link and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.htmlExternal Link


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