Novel Coronavirus: What Your Family Needs to Know - Genesis Health System

Published on March 09, 2020

washing hands in sink

Coronavirus: What Your Family Needs to Know

With confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa and Illinois and more cases possible, many parents are wondering how they can prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect their families. Genesis Health System understands your concern, and it’s always a good idea to take precautionary measures against the spread of germs—and not only against this specific virus.

How can I protect my family?

The best way to prevent a respiratory infection is to avoid exposure. Here are other simple steps you can take to lower the risk of you and your family catching or spreading illness.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid contact with others when you are sick.

It is also recommended that you have an adequate supply of medicines your family members use regularly on hand.

Should I wear a mask?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does NOT recommend people who are healthy to wear a facemask to protect themselves from coronavirus. Facemasks should be worn by individuals who show symptoms of the virus to help avoid spreading the disease to others. Masks are also being worn by healthcare workers. Note: Genesis Medical Centers are not able to give out masks for home use. The masks are necessary for the safe care of patients.

What are the symptoms for children?

Symptoms of COVID-19 infections of children are similar to those of a lower respiratory infection. Use the following guidance to determine whether or not your child needs medical care:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath from continued coughing
  • Refusing liquids with decreased urine frequency
  • Crying without ability to be consoled
  • Fever that is not responsive to fever reducing medications
  • Behavior that is not normal for your child
  • Call your child’s pediatrician or clinic immediately prior to visiting an office or facility if you are concerned that your child has any of these symptoms. Most children with COVID-19 infections have mild symptoms and do not require medical care, however, call your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned.

What is Genesis doing?

As public health agencies closely monitor the outbreak, Genesis locations are prepared for the possibility of patients known or suspected of having COVID-19. Genesis healthcare professionals have access to appropriate personal protective equipment and have trained for similar events. Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health Trinity have jointly revised visitation policies to limit visitation of sick patients, especially if the visitors show symptoms of illness themselves.


Credible resources for more information include, and for the latest updates and advice as this is a rapidly, evolving situation.

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