What you can do

Here are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Staying home when you are sick.

• Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls and doorknobs.

• Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

• Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty).

• Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

 

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

Some people infected with the virus have no symptoms, the CDC says. When the virus does cause symptoms, common ones include low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat. However, COVID-19 can occasionally cause more severe symptoms like high fever, severe cough and shortness of breath, which often indicates pneumonia.

First and foremost – if you are having a medical emergency, call 911. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19. 

For non-emergency needs, if you need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and plan to visit the hospital, your primary care provider or an urgent clinic, call ahead before you go and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. 

This will allow providers to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.