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Facts and Information

Understanding COVID-19 and How to Stay Safe by

What you should do if you have symptoms

Seek medical advice if you are experiencing the following symptoms: fever over 100.4 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, or fatigue and have traveled in the last 14 days, or if you have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.


Call our triage nurse at 320.289.1580 before coming to the Clinic or Emergency Room (calling ahead can help prevent the spread of the virus).

Appleton Area Health is working with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay prepared to manage COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before. Because this is a new virus, there are unknowns, such as how severe the illness can be, how easily is it transmitted between people, among other features of the virus. 

Facts About COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. People with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.  


Per the the Centers for Disease Control:

  • People are most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest), however the virus can still be transmitted even if you are not having symptoms.

  • Spread of the disease primarily occurs from person to person who are in prolonged personal contact with each other; through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes (within about 6 feet).

  • Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects may be possible by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, however this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

People at greatest risk of dying from COVID-19 include:

  • Those with chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, underlying heart and lung diseases, or other immune compromising conditions

  • Elderly

  • Children

What you can do to avoid exposure
Community members should prepare by learning about COVID-19 through reliable resources provided by the CDC and staying calm. The CDC and MDH always recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or when your hands are visibly dirty.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and rub your hands together until they are dry.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough into the crook of your arm.

  • Regular household cleaning spray or wipes can be used to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Practice social distancing. Stay home except to get essential supplies and avoid public places.

CDC and MDH now recommends wearing a face mask when in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and other public places. Facemasks should be used by people to help prevent the spread of diseases.

Travel Recommendations 
CDC recommends that travelers returning from countries with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) should stay home for a period of 14 days from the date they left that country.

Review travel recommendations posted on CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel if you are planning to travel, and keep an eye on the news for updates on this evolving situation.

For the current countries and additional guidance see  CDC: Travelers from Countries with Widespread Sustained (Ongoing) Transmission Arriving in the United States

What Appleton Area Health is doing to prepare
Appleton Area Health is working with the CDC and MDH.  Jason Boonstra, is AAH's Infection Control Manager and works to train staff and prevent staff, patients, and visitors from being infected with disease.

In addition to daily communication with CDC and MDH, Jason keeps AAH informed of COVID-19 updates. We have equipped our staff with the training and supplies to provide safe, quality care and we are fully trained to safely accommodate patients with infectious diseases. We have aggressive and proactive infection control measures in place as well as screening procedures for every person that enter our facility. In addition, we have closed our Care Center, Hospital, and Apple Ridge to visitors; and are offering Virtual Care or telehealth visits.

COVID-19 Symptoms
According to CDC, patients with confirmed COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue

  • Some patients have other symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or diarrhea.

Based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of other coronaviruses, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure.


What to do if you have symptoms
If you develop symptoms:

  • Call your health care provider immediately via phone and tell them about any recent travel or exposure. (Contacting your healthcare provider via phone before going to a clinic or hospital helps prevent spread.)

  • Avoid contact with other people.

  • Follow the directions of your provider and public health officials.

Respiratory Testing Site Instructions

For the safety of our patients and staff, Appleton Area Health has created Respiratory Testing Site to be used as a collection area for respiratory conditions including, but not limited to COVID. The collection area has a separate entrance away from all other patients or employees and is for patients who have symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue.


Follow the below steps when seeking care for respiratory illnesses:


  1. Call Appleton Area Health at 320.289.1580 and ask to speak with the Triage Nurse prior to arriving.

  2. If asked to come in for testing, please drive to AAH’s Respiratory Testing Site which is located a designated area on the lower level of our building and wait in your car. Staff will come out and will provide you with further instructions. 


Thank you for your cooperation, remaining calm, and following these steps.


More information about coronavirus can be found on MDH’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website. MDH has set up a COVID-19 public hotline that is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline number is 651-201-3920. 
Content source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and Appleton Area Health.

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