Friday, March 6, 2020

Coronavirus vs. COVID-19 and Managing Stress and Anxiety


As of this release, Central Oregon has no known case of COVID-19. 


For individuals with questions about the difference between coronavirus and COVID-19, public health officials have some clear distinctions. Some coronavirus strains are common throughout the world, most cause mild to moderate illness and are one cause of a common cold. COVID-19 is a new or novel coronavirus that can cause a more serious respiratory illness in people. Individuals can be diagnosed with a coronavirus that is not COVID-19.
Downloadable file: Common Coronaviruses VS COVID-19 (PDF)


Feelings of anxiety and worry are normal and to be expected in a situation like this one. Acknowledge these feelings when they are present and remind yourself that they are normal. Here are some tips from Deschutes County Behavioral Health experts to help manage those feelings and care for your mental health.

Be prepared.
Even when there are some things out of our control, there are always things that we as individuals and communities can control. One of the best ways to protect your own mental health is to do the things you can to prepare for yourself and others. Remember that there are things we can do that protect us from COVID-19 or other infectious diseases: 
  •  Wash your hands often. 
  •  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  •  Stay home when you are sick.
  •  Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  •  Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Avoid rumors and inaccurate information.
Constantly watching updates on the status of COVID-19 can increase anxiety - avoid this. Stories about COVID-19 on the internet may be based on rumors and inaccurate information. We know that for most people, COVID-19 is a mild illness that may cause symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. You can look to these resources for accurate information at: 
Know when to get professional help.
Take care of yourself and make time to: get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and talk to others. If COVID-19 is elevating anxiety, create a plan with a support person to develop tools to manage anxiety. 

Take care of your own mental health. Consider your own internal strengths and remind yourself of who in your community you can go to for support.  

Know when to get help. While being upset and worried is normal, there are times to get help. These include a persistent inability to sleep, increasing drug/alcohol use, an overwhelming sense of depression or panic, and an inability to take care of yourself or those who depend on you due to distress. Another sign you should urgently seek professional help is if you have any urges to harm yourself or anyone else. If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can contact the Deschutes County Behavioral Health crisis line at 541-322-7500 x9


Concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious. If you have questions about talking to children about COVID-19, Deschutes County Behavioral Health recommends the following tips and this resource: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
  • Remain calm and reassuring, emphasize to your children that they and your family are fine,  and remind them that you and the adults at their school are there to keep them safe and healthy.
  • Make yourself available, let your children talk and give them plenty of time and attention.
  • Avoid excessive blaming, avoid stereotyping or bullying conversations. Be aware of the comments that your children are hearing.
  • Monitor and limit television viewing and social media that may be upsetting, and talk about what they’re seeing.
  • Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible, keep up with school work and extracurricular activities but don’t push if they seem overwhelmed.
  • Be honest and accurate about the scope of the current situation, how the disease gets spread and how to protect oneself.
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19 including: fever, cough, shortness of breath; symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure. 
  • Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection, including proper handwashing and adequate sleep.


In addition to the COEIN joint efforts, many partners are also sharing supporting materials and messages with their clients, staff and members of the public. 

A few of these resources include: