AllentownSchool District

COVID-19 Key Terms

Asymptomatic: Showing no symptoms of disease. A person infected with the virus can be asymptomatic because they are in an early stage of infection and symptoms have not yet developed (“pre-symptomatic”), or they may not develop any symptoms at all during their infection.

Coronavirus/COVID-19: The name of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and is short for “Coronavirus Disease 2019.”  group of viruses common in humans and animals. Some coronaviruses produce the common cold; SARS and MERS are also both coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus. 

Close Contact: A person who may be at risk of a contagious disease because of their proximity or exposure to a known case. Exact definition of close contact differs by disease; for COVID-19, the CDC defines a close contact as anyone who has been within 6 feet of a person infected with the virus for atleast 14 consecutive minutes, or has had direct contact with the infected person’s secretions. 

Community Transmission/spread:
Infections identified in a given geographic area without a history of travel elsewhere and no connection to a known case.

Contact tracing: The process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a contagious disease to prevent onward transmission. 
Exposure: Unprotected within 6 feet of another person who is positive for 15 minutes or longer to lessen the fear related to casual contact.

Isolation is when the public health staff direct cases to stay home, in a hospital, or in a care facility to ensure they do not expose others with COVID-19.  Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should be immediately isolated while waiting for test results. Public health staff handles case investigation steps including determining close contacts during the infectious period.

Outbreak: During (and because of) a case investigation and contact tracing, two or more contacts are identified as having active COVID-19, regardless of their assigned priority OR Two or more patients with COVID-19 are discovered to be linked, and the linkage is established outside of a case investigation and contact tracing (e.g., two patients who received a diagnosis of COVID-19 are found to work in the same office, and only one or neither of the them was listed as a contact to the other).

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment):
An acronym for personal protective equipment. It describes the special masks, clothing and gloves worn by care providers to shield them from contagious illnesses. 
Presymptomatic: Someone who has been infected with a virus but isn't yet showing symptoms. 

Self-isolation: Separating oneself from others because you are sick. 
Self-quarantine: Separating oneself from others because you have been exposed to a sick person. 

Social distancing: The act of increasing physical space between people to decrease the spread of an illness. (In the case of COVID-19, social distancing of at least six feet is recommended.) 

Symptomatic: Showing symptoms of COVID. Symptoms include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea