Special Olympics latest news and frequently asked questions
(update 03/16/20) With the help of Special Olympics athletes and Program staff, we have developed a 30 minute eLearning course for our Special Olympics community about coronavirus COVID-19. This course is designed to cover some basic information: what is the coronavirus, what are the symptoms, how does it spread, and how you can protect yourself. We encourage the entire Special Olympics community to complete this module at learn.specialolympics.org. Please see instructions for accessing this course.
Coronavirus COVID-19 is a lung illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China.
The first case of COVID-19 in an athlete in the United States was reported on 7 March 2020. At Special Olympics, we are doing everything we can to provide information and assist in preventing COVID-19. You can find the current global count of cases of COVID-19 on the website of the World Health Organization, and the CDC website for the United States.
Illustration of what you need to know about the coronavirus.
View the FULL SIZE image.
The virus spreads from an infected person to others through:
Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
Most people with COVID-19 will have a mild illness, but some people will get sicker and may need to be hospitalized. If you are 60 years or older, are pregnant, or are chronically ill (have lung, heart or kidney disease), contact your physician’s office so that they can monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.
Some people have gotten pneumonia in both lungs, some have gotten hospitalized and a small number have died from COVID-19. People who are older (over 60), are pregnant or are chronically ill (have lung, heart or kidney disease) are at higher risk of those complications.
Here is a video and simple everyday actions to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:
If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, and you suspect you might have been exposed to COVID-19, you should:
Call your healthcare provider and they can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person. If you believe this is a medical emergency, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.
You should monitor your health for fever, cough, and shortness of breath for 14 days from your last close contact with the person who has COVID-19. You should not go to work or school and should avoid public places for 14 days.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 that will cure the virus. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
If you are feeling sick (have or recently had a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), you should definitely stay home to protect yourself and others. If you have existing breathing conditions, you may also choose to stay home to reduce your risk. At this time, Special Olympics is taking all precautions to protect our athletes and participants as it relates to COVID-19 as best as possible.
Individuals with intellectual disabilities who have existing medical conditions, including breathing problems, are at increased risk for COVID-19.
Special Olympics Programs have been instructed to:
As with any other public gathering, monitor your health for symptoms. If you feel sick, follow the instructions above.
For additional information, follow the guidance of your local and national health authorities: public health departments, ministries of health, local health offices, World Health Organization, and the CDC.