What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus called SARS-CoV-2. The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild disease but some people will get sicker and may need to be hospitalized.
What is a significant exposure?
- close contact (within 6 feet) for at least 10 minutes with a person who is sick with COVID-19
- living in the same household as a person who is sick with COVID-19
- caring for a person who is sick with COVID-19
- being in direct contact with secretions from a person who is sick with COVID-19 (saliva, nasal secretions, sharing utensils, etc.)
How is SARS-CoV-2 transmitted?
- 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 or sneezes.
- Patients are most contagious when they have symptoms and are sick but it is possible to spread the virus several days before symptoms occur.
- It may be possible that 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 eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
What should I do if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19?
If you are not sick:
You should monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days.
If you get sick:
If you get symptoms consistent with COVID-19, call your physician for further direction. Do not present to a physician’s office before calling.
If you have shortness of breath with a fever and cough, present to an emergency room and notify them that you have been exposed to COVID-19. Wear a mask if you have one available.
What are the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection?
The most common symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. You may not have all of these symptoms.
How can I protect myself?
- Hand washing (20 seconds), or using alcohol hand gel
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick with the above symptoms
- Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze and wash your hands immediately
- Clean high-touch surfaces at home or work with common disinfectants
- If you are sick – please stay home and contact your physician