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COVID-19 is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus, which was discovered in 2019. Coronaviruses as a group have been known to science since the late 1930's and are recognized to cause 15-30% of all winter "common colds". SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is much more serious than the common cold because it is a new strain for which most people have no immune defense.
COVID-19 infections cause a range of illness from mild, which can be treated at home, to severe enough that hospitalization is required. In most people symptoms are similar to the flu or common cold, however some people can have severe symptoms requiring hospitalization or even resulting in death. Individuals 65 years or older and those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk from COVID-19.
If you are at higher risk, the Benton County Health Department recommends speaking to your medical provider about creating a COVID plan, which should cover your personal risk, prevention strategies, and treatment options in case you do get sick.
The COVID-19 vaccine offers excellent protection from severe illness and hospitalization. The newest COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration in September of 2023..
Currently, everyone 6 months and older is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For children younger than 5 the schedule varies. For more details, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The COVID-19 vaccine is available from most medical providers and other locations where vaccines are available. Many locations require appointments – reach out to the provider to make one. If you are looking for a COVID-19 vaccine, there are a few places you can check:
- Your regular medical provider.
- Supporting medical providers, like SamCare Express.
- Local pharmacies, including pharmacy counters inside of grocery stores.
If these options do not work for you please contact our health department by phone at 541-766-6835.
At-home testing kits are available over-the-counter at many pharmacies and retail locations. These test kits usually contain more than one test, and are available at no cost with most private health insurance. Laboratory testing is also available through dedicated COVID-19 testing outlets and medical providers.
In addition to the information below, you can reach Benton County Communicable Disease by calling the COVID-19 Information Line, at (541) 766-6120.
- Signs and symptoms
- Who is at high risk?
- Isolation guidelines and calculator
- Treatments and medication for COVID-19