About COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. With some coronaviruses there are no symptoms or mild illness, like the common cold, while other coronaviruses can cause severe illness. Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not.

Those who are infected with COVID-19 may be very ill or have little to no symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 are often similar to other illnesses.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms may include:

  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • runny nose, sneezing, congestion
  • headache
  • muscle/joint/body aches
  • feeling unwell/unusual tiredness
  • acute loss of sense of smell or taste

Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been reported, but typically along with other COVID-19 symptoms, and may be seen more often in children.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can:

  • take up to 14 days to appear after contact with the virus
  • be very mild or more serious
  • vary from person to person

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • stay home (isolate) to avoid spreading it to others
  • if you live with others, stay in a separate room or keep a 2-metre distance
  • call your family physician or nurse practitioner or go to a drop-in clinic to be tested

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is most commonly spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or inhaled into the lungs.

People may also catch the virus from touching something with the virus on it, then touching the eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands.

The virus is not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.

Am I at risk of getting sick with COVID-19?

Your risk of severe illness may be higher if you have a weakened immune system. This may be the case for: older people or people with chronic disease (for example: diabetes, cancer, heart, renal, or chronic lung disease).

COVID-19 is a new disease caused by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020.
Published date: 
October 26, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca