Coronavirus Overview

The complete clinical picture with regard to Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection may experience very mild to severe symptoms. The following may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • loss of taste or smell

There is no evidence that children are more susceptible. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Infections in children have been reported, including in very young children. From limited information published from past Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks, infection among children was relatively uncommon.

Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19. These limited reports suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon.

Here’s what the CDC has to say about risks to children.

Children and their family members should engage in usual preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including:

  • Avoid people who are sick,
  • covering coughs and sneezes,
  • cleaning hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and
  • staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza.

We all should also engage in the exceptional preventative actions of:

  • Social distancing: When out in public, maintain at least a 6-foot distance between you and other people.
  • Shelter at home: Stay home except for travel to obtain essential needs, such as groceries, medication, doctor visits, automotive needs, or other essential household needs. Travel is allowed for employment in “essential” jobs. This does not mean staying inside all the time. In fact, being outside taking walks and being active is healthful.
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 or more individuals: This includes worship services which typically results in “prolonged” exposure to numbers greater than 10 people.  For the health and well-being of others, please observe this recommendation. When with others, respect the 6 foot separation.

Governor Ivey issued an updated Safer At Home directive on May 8, 2020

The Alabama Department of Public Health publishes this helpful page of Frequently Asking Questions.

Here is the CDC advice if you are feeling sick or think you may have COVID-19.


If you recently traveled internationally to one of these countries within the last 14 days and have the following mild symptoms — fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath — you should:

  • Call ADPH’s Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374 immediately.
  • Avoid contact with others for 14 days. Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Use a separate bathroom. Do not leave unless you are getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, or use public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. Other home isolation tips are available from the CDC.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If the symptoms are so severe that the individual needs to go to the hospital, call 9-1-1. Tell the emergency responders that the individual recently traveled to an affected geographic area and have been potentially exposed to COVID-19.


Testing is only recommended if your child is showing symptoms and meets the following criteria. The recommended guidelines for testing include:

An individual with fever (≥100.4°F) or cough or shortness of breath, and one of the following:

  1. Any person who was within 6 ft. of a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, for a prolonged period of time, within 14 days of symptom onset.
  2. Any health care worker who was caring for or who had unprotected direct contact with infectious secretions or excretions of a suspected COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset.
  3. A history of travel from areas with sustained (ongoing) COVID-19 virus transmission within 14 days of symptom onset. See CDC Travel page for list.
  4. A new severe respiratory illness, and other respiratory illnesses have been ruled out.

Baptist Health has just opened the Central Alabama Coronavirus Care Clinic in Montgomery devoted to drive-up Coronavirus testing. An appointment is needed, so call 334-747-0150 to schedule an appointment.

Elmore County Hospital has opened a testing center, and may be contacted by calling 334-514-3713.

The Alabama state testing hotline is 888-264-2256.


Updated: May 8, 2020