For up to date information please go to the CDC Website.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a “respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”). 1
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Watch for symptoms of COVID-19
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*
- Shortness of breath
*this is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.
When to Seek Medical Attention
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
How severe is COVID-19?
The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a reportexternal icon out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. A CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report that looked at severity of disease among COVID-19 cases in the United States by age group found that 80% of deaths were among adults 65 years and older with the highest percentage of severe outcomes occurring in people 85 years and older.
Learn more about the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Know How It Spreads
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Put distance between yourself and other people.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
Follow the steps below: If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
Stay home except to get medical care
- Stay home: Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
- Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation
- Stay away from others: As much as possible, you stay away from others. You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible, and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- See COVID-19 and Animals is you have questions about pets.
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Call ahead: Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
- If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
If you are sick wear a facemask in the following situations, if available.
- If you are sick: You should wear a facemask, if available, when you are around other people (including before you enter a healthcare provider’s office).
- If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then as their caregiver, you should wear a facemask when in the same room with them. Visitors, other than caregivers, are not recommended.
- Note: During a public health emergency, facemasks may be reserved for healthcare workers. You may need to improvise a facemask using a scarf or bandana.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
- Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean your hands often
- Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid sharing personal household items
- Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
- Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water or put in the dishwasher.
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
- Clean high-touch surfaces in your isolation area (“sick room” and bathroom) every day; let a caregiver clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in other areas of the home.
- Clean and disinfect: Routinely clean high-touch surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom. Let someone else clean and disinfect surfaces in common areas, but not your bedroom and bathroom.
- If a caregiver or other person needs to clean and disinfect a sick person’s bedroom or bathroom, they should do so on an as-needed basis. The caregiver/other person should wear a mask and wait as long as possible after the sick person has used the bathroom.
High-touch surfaces include phones, remote controls, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
- Clean and disinfect areas that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
- Household cleaners and disinfectants: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
- Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product. Many products recommend keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. Many also recommend precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
- Most EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A full list of disinfectants can be found here.
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Diluting your household bleach.
To make a bleach solution, mix:
5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation.
Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix
household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired
household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly
Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
Monitor your symptoms
- Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and cough. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention.
- If you are having trouble breathing, seek medical attention, but call first.
- Call your doctor or emergency room before going in and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
- Wear a facemask: If available, put on a facemask before you enter the building. If you can’t put on a facemask, cover your coughs and sneezes. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from other people. This will help protect the people in the office or waiting room.
- Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department: Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
For up to date information please go to the CDC Website.
Updated information from NHDHHS Website.