What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Those who have contracted the disease report experiencing mild to severe symptoms of:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing,
- repeated shaking with chills,
- muscle pain,
- sore throat and
- new loss of taste or smell two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
If you develop any of these emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
How does COVID-19 spread?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person but it's possible that it can also be contracted by touching contaminated surfaces or objects.
Person to person spread typically occurs:
- 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.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects:
A person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 through contaminated surfaces:
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection, then use a household disinfectant.
How can I protect myself against COVID-19?
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.
Practice social distancing:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home as much as possible
- Put distance between yourself and other people. (6 feet or more)
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.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others:
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
Cover coughs and sneezes:
- If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.