Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported - ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • 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
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and think you have or have been exposed to COVID-19, DO NOT go directly to your doctor's office or an urgent care location without first calling to alert them to your possible COVID-19 exposure or infection. This helps our team stay healthy while we focus on treating our neighbors and preventing further exposure.

Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

For more information about how COVID-19 spreads, visit the How COVID-19 Spreads page to learn how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

CaroMont Health offers COVID-19 testing in most primary care offices and urgent cares. You can also visit your state or local health department’s website or any local pharmacy for testing availability. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your healthcare provider first.

I have a trip planned. What do I do?

The CDC has outlined measures for domestic and international travel. Review their guidelines here.

Is it still safe to come to the hospital as a visitor?

To help protect the health of our patients and employees, CaroMont Health has expanded visitor restrictions for CaroMont Regional Medical Center, the Birthplace and CaroMont Medical Group. Restrictions are in accordance with the latest guidance from federal, state and local health officials and are aimed at helping control the spread of respiratory illnesses, like Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here for more information.

Is there a vaccine?

Yes. Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death:

CaroMont Health primary care offices offer COVID-19 vaccines by appointment. Please click here to find a location near you.

What is in the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine ingredients can vary by manufacturer. Here are the ingredients in each COVID-19 vaccine:

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. All COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).

Nearly 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Were these vaccines made from fetal cells or fetal cell lines?

  • Pzifer-BioNTech does not include any aborted fetal cells and fetal cell lines were not used to produce or manufacture the vaccine.
  • Moderna does not include any aborted fetal cells and fetal cell lines were not used to produce or manufacture the vaccine.
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson does not include any aborted fetal cells; however, fetal cell cultures, specifically PER.C6 (a retinal cell line that was isolated from a terminated fetus in 1985) were used to produce and manufacture this vaccine.

I heard the vaccines are not approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Is that true?

NO. The FDA has granted full licensure (approval) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for use by the FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). An EUA is one of several tools the FDA is using to help make certain medical products available quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In certain emergencies, the FDA can issue an EUA to provide access to medical products that may be used to help treat new illness/conditions to save or improve lives.

If the vaccine is approved under an EUA, does that mean it wasn’t fully tested for safety?

NO. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

Were the COVID-19 vaccines rushed?

NO. Development of COVID-19 vaccines happened quickly for a number of reasons.

  • SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was a new virus, but it belongs to a family of viruses (coronavirus) with similar traits. Scientists have studied other coronaviruses for 50 years, so they already had an immense amount of scientific research and data about how the coronaviruses work. Having this information available allowed vaccine developers to work more quickly.
  • The FDA states, “There is no predetermined timeline for vaccine development. Typically, the better the scientific understanding of a pathogen and the disease it causes, the more efficient vaccine development.”
  • Researchers have been developing and researching an mRNA vaccine platform for more than 10 years. In fact, the first human trials of various mRNA vaccines began in 2006 and long-term effects of non-COVID mRNA vaccines have been thoroughly studied. That allowed PfizerBioNTech and Moderna to start using that technology immediately to begin developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Due to the global impact of COVID-19, there were tremendous resources (funding, manpower, attention) put into developing these vaccines. Additionally, many of the world’s top scientists, researchers, medical experts and health organizations worked together, making COVID-19 their sole focus - this is the first time in history a vaccine has received this level of support from around the world.
  • Advances in science and medicine over the last several decades have “sped up” the pace of many medical advancements. This does not mean those developments and advancements are rushed. Instead, it means that experts have access to information, equipment and technology that allows them to develop and produce vaccines more quickly and with better efficacy.

Is a COVID-19 booster or third dose required?

Booster shots are recommended at least six months after completion of the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive a booster of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least two months after first dose.

If you wish to receive a booster dose, please visit caromonthealth.org/vaccine or visit a pharmacy of your choice.

A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is approved and strongly recommended ONLY for those who are immunocompromised. Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity after vaccination and can get extra protection from an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Please contact your provider with questions or to schedule an appointment.

To learn more about booster shots and third doses, click here.

Can a person with COVID-19 infection be vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible-although rare-that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

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

If you or your child has a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children (MIS-A or MIS-C), consider delaying vaccination until you or your child have recovered from being sick and for 90 days after the date of diagnosis of MIS-A or MIS-C. Learn more about the clinical considerations people with a history of multisystem MIS-C or MIS-A.

Can pregnant people be vaccinated?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination. While such a conversation might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If I am fully vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?

After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 you can resume many activities without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart, except:

  • if you are indoors in public and you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • or where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.