A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be spread through person-to-person contact, mainly 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 be inhaled into the lungs. Spreading the virus is more likely to occur when people are in close contact with one another (within about six feet for 15 minutes or more).
Masks help to slow the spread of the virus. They also help keep people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Wear masks in public settings when around people not living in your household and particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.
Visit our page on “How Masks Work” to learn more.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. 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. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Visit our page on “Handwashing and Sanitization” to learn more.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Continue to be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19 and, if possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
Visit our page on “What To Do If Exposed” to learn more.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Visit our “Symptoms” page to learn more.
Several factors can place someone in a high-risk group. These people are at an elevated risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19. Some high risk groups include older adults, people with compromised immune systems, or others with pre-existing medical conditions.
Visit our page on “People With Pre-Existing Conditions” to learn more.