Skip to main content

What You Need to Know about the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

As the international coronavirus, called COVID-19, outbreak rapidly evolves, CVS Health in-house clinicians and our Enterprise Response and Resiliency (ERR) team are closely monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Below is information about the virus, tips for staying healthy and a few procedures that CVS Health has implemented that focus on the health and safety of our colleagues, customers and patients. For more information about the virus, please visit the CDC and/or WHO websites dedicated to this issue. 

What is this new coronavirus called COVID-19?

The CDC and WHO are actively monitoring the outbreak of a new coronavirus strain called COVID-19, which causes respiratory illness. The virus, which has infected thousands of people worldwide and caused more than 1,000 deaths, originated in Wuhan City, China. Additional cases have now been reported in the United States. Visit the CDC Traveler’s Health website for travel notices and precautions. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. 

People with heart and lung disease or weakened immune systems, as well as infants and older adults, are at higher risk for lower respiratory tract illness.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses are usually spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing and through close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.

How can you protect yourself or others from COVID-19?

Although there are currently no vaccines available to protect against human coronavirus infection, you may be able to reduce your risk of infection by washing your hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

If you have cold-like symptoms, as a courtesy to your co-workers and others, please remain at home while you are sick.

If you share a work station or equipment with others, consider wiping it down with disinfectant wipes after use.

For information about hand washing, see the CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives website.

What should you do if you suspect you or someone else has contracted COVID-19?

Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Although there are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses, you can take the following actions to help relieve symptoms if you are mildly sick:

  • Take pain and fever medications. Ask your pharmacist how they may interact with any medications you currently take. Caution: The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend not giving aspirin to children.
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Stay home and rest.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, please see your local health care provider.

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

The CDC recommends that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, who has visited Wuhan City, China, or who has been in contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed of having the coronavirus within the last 14 days should be tested. 

Will Aetna cover COVID-19 testing?

Currently, the CDC is the only approved lab to perform testing for the coronavirus and is not billing for the testing.

Where can you obtain more information?

You can find more information on COVID-19 at these links: