ANDOVER — Town Manager Andrew P. Flanagan and Director of Public Health Thomas Carbone wish to provide residents with a glossary of terms pertaining to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Many of us are hearing and using these terms regularly, and while many have similar meanings, they are not interchangeable,” Carbone said. “It is important to understand the differences between these terms to reduce confusion about COVID-19, especially as information about this virus continues to rapidly evolve as we learn more.”
The Town of Andover offers the following glossary of terms from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and Public Health Director Thomas Carbone:
Active monitoring means that state or local public health authorities establish regular communication with the person to monitor for symptoms of illness. This communication may include telephone calls or any electronic or internet-based means of communication. In Massachusetts, this communication occurs at least weekly.
Close contact is defined as:
a) being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a healthcare waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case
– or –
b) having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)
Contact Tracing is the act of identifying and locating individuals who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Close contacts of an individual who tests positive for the virus will be asked to quarantine and will be monitored regularly by local public health officials.
Coronavirus is a group of viruses that result in mild to moderate upper-respiratory illness.
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been identified before. There are numerous types of coronaviruses that affect humans and frequently result in mild respiratory trace illness.
COVID-19 or coronavirus disease 2019 is the official name the World Health Organization cave the novel coronavirus that has become a worldwide pandemic in 2020. Before the WHO officially named the virus, it was known as 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.
Isolation means the separation of a person or a group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. People in Massachusetts who are under isolation are also under active monitoring.
Quarantine means the separation of a person reasonably believed to have been exposed or potentially exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic, from others who have not been so exposed to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease. People in Massachusetts who are under quarantine are also advised to self-monitor for symptoms.
Respiratory symptoms in relation to the SARS-CoV, typically mean an infection of the lower respiratory tract which may result in coughing, shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing.
Self-monitoring is for people believed to have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. It means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for any coughing or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
Self-observation is for people who don’t have symptoms and have not been exposed to the best of their knowledge. It means people should remain alert for subjective fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop cough or difficulty breathing during the self-observation period, they should take their temperature, self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
Social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.
For information on more COVID-19 related terminology, click here.