What is COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious disease that can spread from person to person. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Older adults and those with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness. The virus that causes COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in 2019. 

How does the virus spread?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 can spread in three ways:

  • By breathing in the air of an infected person exhaling tiny droplets containing the virus. This can be prevented by wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • By having tiny droplets that contain the virus land on your eyes, nose, or mouth after an infected person coughs or sneezes. This can also be prevented by wearing a mask maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • By touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have come into contact with the virus. This can be prevented by washing your hands frequently.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with COVID-19 often report a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe. For more on COVID-19 symptoms, visit COVID-19 Symptoms.

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated. Additionally, you have the opportunity to prevent virus exposure by following the actions below:

  • Wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from those who do not live in your household.
  • Avoid high transmission areas such as crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces frequently.
  • Monitor your health daily and contact your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19


What conditions put someone at high risk for severe infection with COVID-19?

  • Overweight (Body mass index > 25)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Immunosuppressive disease (cancer, autoimmune disease, etc.)
  • Currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • 65 years of age or older
  • Cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.)
  • COPD/other chronic respiratory disease (asthma, etc.)
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Medical-related dependence (tracheostomy, PEG, etc.)


Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

Baptist Health has set up sites at various locations throughout Arkansas to evaluate people who are concerned about possible exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn more about COVID-19 testing at Baptist Health.

Is there a vaccine?

Yes, a vaccine has been developed and is available at several Baptist Health primary care clinics and medical centers. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the Baptist Health Coronavirus Information Hub.