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Facts and Questions

Key Facts

Separate fact from fiction and stay informed about COVID-19.

FACT 1 – The disease doesn’t target specific races or ethnicities.
COVID-19 does not target people of any descent more than any other race or ethnicity. There is no scientific evidence to show that being any particular descent increases the chance of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

FACT 2 – You can reduce your risk of getting COVID-19.
Reduce the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands as frequently as possible with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; stay home from work when you are sick; and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

FACT 3 – COVID-19 symptoms can be flu-like.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and influenza (flu) are both contagious viruses that cause respiratory illnesses, and both diseases are spread worldwide. Both can cause a fever, cough, body aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea; and both can result in pneumonia. However, there are many differences, like transmission, medication, mortality, and treatment options.

FACT 4 – For most people, the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is considered low.
All demographics with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems, and older adults, are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 than the general population, according to the CDC. More information about risk variances by age and other variables is available on the CDC website.

FACT 5 – The virus will likely spread person-to-person through many communities.
The CDC reports that everyone should prepare for the possibility that COVID-19 will spread to their community at some point. Person-to-person contact is the most likely way the virus spreads, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Fact vs Fiction

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Infectious Diseases Physician Assistant Kylie Broughal provides an in-depth discussion about the Facts versus Fiction of COVID-19 in this informative webinar.

Common Questions

Am I Eligible For The Vaccine?

Visit to check eligibility. 

Visit for New York State Vaccine Phase information.

How Do I Schedule A Vaccination?

Visit to check eligibility, find a location, and schedule an appointment; or call the New York State Vaccination Hotline at (833) 697-4829.

Appointments are limited and will not be visible on the NY State website once filled. If the link does not display any appointments for a nearby Vaccine Clinic location, individuals are encouraged to continue checking back as frequently as possible; appointments will be generated as vaccines becomes available.

Individuals are asked to refrain from calling individual hospitals about being vaccinated.

Vaccine-Specific Questions with Video Answers
What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. The virus may cause respiratory symptoms such as coughing, high fever, breathing problems, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, fatigue, and extreme exhaustion. There are other symptoms less commonly associated with COVID-19, such as headache, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Visit the Symptoms page.

What Does a COVID-19 Test Cost?

Our patients will never be billed for COVID tests. No matter what kind of COVID-19 test a patient receives, there is no cost to the patient.

We do submit claims to insurance; however, even if insurance does not pay the full amount, patients do not receive a bill for the balance.

Among other testing options, we offer free tests made available by New York State at all SLH Community Testing Centers. If you would like this free test, please request the “free state test” when scheduling your appointment.

How do I get a COVID-19 Test?

Please review the Testing Centers page.

What is the COVID-19 Community Spread in NNY?

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in a specific location, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For current information on community spread in our area, please visit the Department of Health's map for New York State counties.

How Does the Virus Spread?
  • The virus spreads from person-to-person by droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or be inhaled into the lungs.
  • The virus more likely spreads when people are within about six feet of each other.
  • The CDC recognizes that since COVID-19 is a new disease, they are still learning how it spreads.
Should I Wear a Mask?

Face masks and face coverings are required in public to help prevent the spread of germs. The CDC recommends everyone wear cloth face coverings when leaving their homes, regardless of whether they have fever or symptoms of COVID-19. This is because of evidence that people with COVID-19 can spread the disease, even when they don’t have any symptoms.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2; anyone who has trouble breathing; or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

Continue to keep about six feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

What Type of Mask Should I Wear?

The New York State Department of Health requires everyone in New York to wear a face covering when in public. The three most common types of face coverings are cloth (most common), surgical masks (used in health care settings), and N95 respirators (recommended only for health care personnel for specific procedures and circumstances).

The CDC prioritizes the use of N95 masks in health care settings since the global supply of N95 masks is limited.

Who is at Risk of Becoming Infected?

All ages and demographics are at risk of becoming infected. According to the CDC, older people, and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions seem to be at a higher risk.

Can I Travel?

We strongly recommend that patients and their loved ones avoid unnecessary travel at this time. Individuals who do travel are obligated to follow self-quarantine and testing protocols when departing from the state and returning home.

We stand ready to serve the medical needs of self-quarantined individuals and encourage them to let their primary care provider know of their self-quarantine status. The primary care provider in partnership with the patient will determine the safest and most appropriate way to address medical concerns.

Official New York State Travel Restrictions (

Should I be Tested for COVID-19?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your health care provider or make arrangements to safely visit one of our testing centers. While most people will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and may not need to be tested, we are encouraging members of our community to get tested.

Testing is crucial to help treat, isolate, or hospitalize people who are infected. Testing also is important in the bigger public health picture on mitigation efforts, helping investigators characterize the prevalence, spread, and contagiousness of the disease.

While the CDC has guidance for who should be tested, decisions about testing are made by state and local health departments and health care providers.

What’s the difference between Coronavirus and the Flu?

The new coronavirus and influenza (flu) are both contagious viruses that cause respiratory illnesses, and both diseases are spread worldwide. Both can cause a fever, cough, body aches, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea, and both can result in pneumonia. However, there are many differences, like transmission, medication, mortality, and treatment options.

View our graph on COVID-19 vs Flu vs Cold.

Can I Still Receive Routine Care/Lab Work?

St. Lawrence Health is providing the same safe, high-quality care at all hospitals and health care locations. All SLH locations are fully prepared to offer safe in-person appointments to our community.

Learn more about scheduling an appointment.

I’m Pregnant/Have a Newborn. Should I be worried?

According to the CDC, a new study suggests pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized and are at increased risk for intensive care unit (ICU) admission and receipt of mechanical ventilation than non-pregnant women. Risk of death is similar for both groups.

Can Children get COVID-19?

Children are susceptible to COVID-19. While current evidence shows that most positive cases are among adults, children have developed COVID-19 symptoms and can be at risk for developing other serious respiratory illnesses like the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)?

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a serious, but rare, health condition in children that has been connected to COVID-19 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MIS-C has been compared to Kawasaki Disease because it shares similar symptoms, but MIS-C is a different illness.

Symptoms for MIS-C vary from case to case, but some include: prolonged fever, rash, conjunctivitis, stomachache, vomiting and/or diarrhea, swollen lymph node in the neck, red cracked lips, swollen hands and/or feet, irritability, and/or unusual sleepiness or weakness. It is currently unknown if Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome is specific to children or if it also occurs in adults.

Consult your pediatric provider for specific information regarding MIS-C and any other pediatric concerns.

What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

Personal protective equipment is protective clothing, gloves, gowns, masks, or other garments or equipment that protects health care workers from infection.

What is an N95 mask?

​​​​​​An N95 respirator mask (also referred as a medical respirator) is a tight-fitting respirator mask that reduces the wearer’s exposure to particles, including small particle aerosols and large droplets.

N95 masks filter out at least 95% of airborne particles and are recommended only for use by health care personnel who need protection from both airborne and fluid hazards. The CDC prioritizes the use of N95 masks in health care settings since the global supply of N95 masks is limited.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is the primary strategy in place to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. It calls for people to increase the space between one another and to avoid gatherings and crowds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people should maintain a distance of six feet from others when possible.