About COVID-19

COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus or novel coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. COVID-19 is short for Corona Virus Disease 2019.

COVID-19 is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus.

Not everyone who has COVID-19 will have the same symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to very severe.

The virus can affect any of us. All age groups should take the risk of COVID-19 seriously. Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease) appear to be highest risk of becoming severely ill with the virus. There is no way to predict how COVID-19 will affect you.

IMPORTANT: Some people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms but can still spread the virus to other people. The best solution is to take steps to prevent getting the virus in the first place.

Emergency Warning Signs of COVID-19

Emergency warning signs include:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Ongoing pain or pressure in your chest
  • New mental confusion or inability to wake a person
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. If you think it’s an emergency, call 911. Notify the operator that you have or think you have COVID-19.

If you think it’s an emergency, call 911.

COVID-19 Spread

COVID-19 is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Can I get COVID-19 through…

  • The air? Yes. Most droplets from coughs or sneezes land on surfaces, but some are light enough to hang in the air for several minutes. After about 20 minutes, most droplets will have landed on a surface.
  • Surfaces? Yes. COVID-19 can last on surfaces from a couple hours or up to several days, depending on the type of surface. This is why it is important to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home. You can follow these suggestions to see how you can best clean various surfaces.
  • Food and water? Probably not. There is little evidence that you can get COVID-19 through food. Continue to practice proper food preparation safety by washing your hands before preparing food and thoroughly cooking your food.
  • Pets? Probably not. At this time there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to humans.
  • Mail or packages? Probably not. COVID-19 can spread by touching a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. There have not been any reports of people becoming sick after handling packages from other countries. Still, it is a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after handling mail or other deliveries.