FAQ

About COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus or novel coronavirus, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It can affect anyone, and all age groups should take it seriously. Source

What is a coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a kind of virus that causes respiratory diseases. There are different kinds of coronavirus, but COVID-19 is the name of the specific virus that has caused the current pandemic. Source

Where did COVID-19 come from?

The outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and has since spread to more than 200 countries. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic, which means that it has spread all over the world. Source 1 Source 2

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Not everyone who has COVID-19 will have the same symptoms. Symptoms can include:

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

These symptoms can range from mild to very severe. Some people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms but can still spread the virus to other people. Source

What does it mean to be asymptomatic?

If you are told you are asymptomatic, it means you are not showing symptoms of having the virus. You could be carrying the virus without knowing it and without feeling or looking sick and still spread the virus to others. Source

Who does COVID-19 affect?

The virus can affect anyone. 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. It is important to know that there is no way to tell how the virus will affect you. Source 1 Source 2

How likely am I to catch COVID-19?

The risk of catching COVID-19 depends on who you’ve come in contact with. While anyone can catch COVID-19, taking the right safety measures such as staying home, practicing physical distancing (staying at least six feet away from people you don’t live with), and frequent hand washing can lower your risk.

Who is most at risk to catch COVID-19?

If you have been in close contact with people with COVID-19 or have visited areas where the virus is spreading, you have a higher risk of getting COVID-19. 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, but there is no way to tell how the virus will affect you. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Source

Who is at risk of developing severe symptoms?

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 COVID-19. However, anyone can develop severe symptoms There is no way to tell how the virus will affect you. Source 1 Source 2 Source 3

Is pink eye a symptom of COVID-19?

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is not listed as a main symptom of COVID-19 by the CDC or WHO. The American Academy of Ophthalmology classifies pink eye as an uncommon symptom of COVID-19, possibly present in 1% to 3% of those infected. More research is needed to show a direct connection between pink eye and COVID-19. Source

What to Do

Should I go to the doctor if I think I have COVID-19?

Stay home. If you have mild symptoms, you may be able to recover at home. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for testing to confirm that you have it. Follow the advice of your doctor and local public health department while isolating in your home. Source

Can I use a kit to test myself at home?

The FDA has approved the Pixel by LabCorp test for at-home COVID-19 testing. You can buy the kit for $119, swab your own nose, and return the kit in the mail for testing. It is important to note this test is only designed to determine active infection, not detect antibodies or immunity. It may take longer to receive results from at-home tests. If you think you are sick with COVID-19, call your doctor for advice. Source 1 Source 2

What are the emergency warning signs of COVID-19?

Emergency warning signs include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty 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. Source

What should I do if I think it’s an emergency?

Call 911 if you think it’s an emergency or if you have an emergency warning sign, like shortness of breath that turns into trouble breathing or a high fever. If you call for an ambulance, tell the emergency responders that you have COVID-19 symptoms so they can take extra steps to protect themselves from infection. Source

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you have mild symptoms, you may be able to recover at home. Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, you can take steps to manage your symptoms at home. Stay connected with your doctor for specific advice.

Stay away from other people in your home. Wash your hands often. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day.

Do I need to stay away from other people in my home if I have COVID-19?

Yes. You should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom if you can. Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in your “sick room” and bathroom every day.

Wear a cloth face covering that covers both the nose and mouth when you must be around other people if you do not have difficulty breathing. If you can not wear a cloth face covering, other people in your home should wear one. Source

What should I do if my family member has COVID-19?

If you or your family member has mild symptoms, they may be able to recover at home. Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, you can take steps to manage symptoms at home. Stay connected with your doctor for specific advice.

  • Family members who have COVID-19 should stay in a specific “sick room” if possible and away from other people and pets. If you can, have sick family members use a separate bathroom. Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the “sick room” and bathroom every day.
  • Sick family members should wear a cloth face covering that covers both their nose and mouth when they must be around other people. If they can not wear a face covering, you should wear one.
  • Call 911 if your family member has an emergency warning sign, like shortness of breath that turns into trouble breathing or a high fever. If you call for an ambulance, tell the emergency responders that your family member has COVID-19 symptoms so they can take extra steps to protect themselves from infection.

Cure/Treatment

Is there treatment for COVID-19?

Although there is currently no treatment specifically for COVID-19, you can take steps to manage your symptoms at home. It is important to reach out to and stay connected with your doctor for specific advice.

  • Rest and sleep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease sore throat and cough.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There is not a vaccine for COVID-19. The World Health Organization is coordinating efforts to develop a vaccine. The best solution is to take steps to prevent getting the virus in the first place:

  • Stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary visitors.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least six feet away from other people who don’t live with you.
  • Wash your hands frequently, with soap, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • If you must go out in public, cover your nose and mouth with a face mask.
  • Avoid touching frequently touched surfaces in public like elevator buttons, door handles or handrails.
Can hydroxychloroquine treat or prevent COVID-19?

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are prescription drugs used to prevent malaria and treat some autoimmune diseases. Clinical trials are underway to see if the drugs can benefit COVID-19 patients or health care workers who are exposed to the virus. The drugs are not approved for treating COVID-19 and there is no evidence that they can prevent infection.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can have serious side effects including fatal changes in heart rhythms, especially when combined with other medicines. The FDA warns that the drugs should only be used to treat COVID-19 in hospitals or clinical trials where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems. The drugs are not safe for people with abnormal heart rhythms, liver disease or kidney disease.

Do not buy these medications from online pharmacies or begin taking them without a prescription from your health care provider. If you are taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine and experience irregular heartbeats, dizziness, or fainting, seek medical attention right away by calling 911.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4

Spread

How is 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.
What is community spread?

Community spread is a term to describe the spread of a disease in an area where there is not a clear chain of events or connection to a person who is known to be infected.

How long can COVID-19 last on surfaces?

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. Source

Can I get COVID-19 through food or water?

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. Source

Will the spread of COVID-19 in meatpacking plants impact the safety of meat products?

COVID-19 is not known to spread through food, including meat. The biggest concern regarding coronavirus and food safety depends more on general hygiene than contaminated food. As an extra precaution, follow standard food safety steps. Before and after handling raw meat, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing food. Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and refrigerator. And never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water. Source 1 Source 2

Can I get COVID-19 through contact with pets?

At this time there is no evidence that pets can become sick with or spread COVID-19. While the CDC has not received any reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, there have been pets in Hong Kong and Belgium that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Can I handle mail or a package that came from another country?

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.

Prevention

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

The best way to prevent illness is to take steps to prevent getting the virus. Stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary visitors. If you must go out in public, cover your nose and mouth with a face mask. Avoid crowds and stay at least six feet away from people who don’t live with you. Wash your hands frequently, with soap, for at least 20 seconds. Don’t touch your face. Source

What cleaning products should I use to protect against COVID-19?

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces with soap and water followed by a household disinfecting wipe or spray. Always follow directions and use disinfectants safely. Never mix products containing bleach with products containing ammonia. And never swallow or drink disinfectants or household cleaners.

Masks & Face Coverings

Will wearing a face mask protect me from getting COVID-19?

Cloth face coverings offer some protection but are not a replacement for other measures of protection like hand washing and physical distancing. You should still wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and keep six feet between yourself and others.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

If you must go out in public, you should cover your nose and mouth with a cloth face covering or mask. In addition to hand washing and physical distancing, wearing a face mask offers protection to you and to the people around you.

If you think you are sick with COVID-19, wear a cloth face mask that covers both your nose and mouth when you must be around others in your home.

How should a face mask be used?
  • Cloth face masks should:
    • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
    • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
    • Include multiple layers of fabric.
    • Allow for breathing without restriction.
    • Be able to be washed with hot water in a washing machine.
  • When removing a face mask, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands immediately after removing.
  • Wash your mask regularly in a washing machine. If possible, wash your mask after each use.
  • Remember that face masks are not a replacement for other measures of protection like hand washing and physical distancing. You should still wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and keep six feet between yourself and others.

Washing Hands

Does washing my hands really help?

Yes! Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 can get onto your hands from coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated objects. Germs on unwashed hands can spread to other people and enter your body when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Removing these germs through handwashing can prevent infections like COVID-19.

How long should I wash my hands?

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. 20 seconds is about as long as it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

What is the correct way to wash my hands?

Follow these steps for the most effective hand washing.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water. Turn off the water and apply soap.
  2. Lather up the soap by rubbing your hands together. Be sure to scrub both sides of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well with clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry.
Should I use hand sanitizer?

If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands. Apply the hand sanitizer to your palm and rub all over your hands until the product is dry. Whenever possible, wash your hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizers may not be as effective on very dirty or greasy hands and may not remove all kinds of germs.

Physical Distancing

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing, also called “social distancing” means staying at least six feet away from anyone you don’t live with. COVID-19 is most commonly spread through the air (by talking, coughing, or sneezing) and through close personal contact (like touching or shaking hands). Physical distancing helps stop the spread from person to person.

When should I practice physical distancing?

Practice physical distancing by avoiding any place or event where there are large groups of people. This may include public transportation, shopping malls, church services, and gyms. Avoid having any unnecessary visitors or workers in your house, and do not visit others in their homes.

How does physical distancing help stop the spread of COVID-19?

Physical distancing can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by reducing close contact between people. Even people who don’t have symptoms or feel sick can spread COVID-19 to others. To stop the spread, practice physical distancing even if you and the people around you feel healthy.

How can I picture six feet?

A six-foot distance is about the same as:

  • The width of the average car.
  • A normal, three-seat couch.
  • The length of a mattress.
  • The height of a door.
How long do I need to practice physical distancing?

It is impossible to predict exactly when we will be able to fully return to more familiar way of life without these restrictions. Physical distancing and other safety practices like staying at home will likely need to continue for some time to ensure there is not a new increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

What can I do to limit my essential trips?

The more we stay home, the better. Consider mail-order services for medication and grocery delivery services available through your grocery store or services like Instacart. If delivery is not an option, look for stores that offer curbside pickup and will bring orders out to your car.

Designate one person from your household to make any necessary shopping trips. This limits the possibilities that someone in your home will be exposed to the virus. When making essential trips, it is important to follow physical distancing guidelines and stay at least six feet away from others.

Contact Tracing

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease like COVID-19 and monitoring those people to stop the spread of disease.

Local public health experts and patients work together to make a list of people the patient interacted with while they were contagious. The public health experts then contact the people on the list, warn them that they may have been exposed to the virus, and give them guidance on what to do next.

The contacts are not told who the patient is unless the patient specifically gives permission. Public health experts work diligently to protect patient confidentiality.

Who is responsible for contact tracing?

Public health experts at local public health departments are responsible for contact tracing in their own communities. They work with patients to identify anyone the patient may have had contact with while they were contagious. This might include family, friends, co-workers, and community members.

How does contact tracing stop the spread?

Contact tracing allows public health experts to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and provide them with resources and information about how to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease.

Depending on your contact with the patient, you may be asked to self-quarantine or you may be asked to visit with the contact tracer periodically and report if you have any symptoms. This will also allow for quicker testing if you become ill.

Has this worked before?

Yes. Public health experts around the world are successfully using contact tracing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Public health experts regularly use contact tracing for tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, Ebola, SARS and other infections that are spread from person-to-person.

How will I be contacted?

You will receive a call from your local public health department if you are not hospitalized at the time of testing. Sometimes you will also hear from your local provider who performed the test. Once you are contacted by the local public health department, they will ask you questions to help determine who you have been in contact with to begin contact tracing.

Who counts as a contact?

Contacts can include anyone you have interacted with while contagious. First, public health experts will want to identify the “close contacts” whom you have been within 6 feet of for more than a few minutes. After identifying close contacts, public health experts will help you list all other contacts.

How will I be contacted after having contact with someone with COVID-19?

Public health experts use a variety of methods to reach contacts as quickly as possible. If the person’s contact information is known, public health experts will make a personal phone call.

When exposure occurs in a public place and the patient does not know who was there, public health experts may issue a media release to notify anyone who may have been in a certain place at a certain time. They will instruct these people to contact their local public health department.

Remember that information about contact tracing will only come from a local public health expert.

Will I be asked to self-quarantine?

You may be asked to stay home and isolate yourself from others for up to 2 weeks. You will be given instructions on how to monitor your symptoms and what to do if symptoms develop or worsen. Public health experts may continue to check in with you to monitor your health and provide additional instructions.

What information is needed for contact tracing?

Public health experts may ask if you have had a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms. They may also ask questions to determine if you can safely isolate yourself from others.

Because you may have unknowingly spread the virus to others, you may be asked where you work, where you have shopped, and who you have visited to help the public health expert find additional contacts.

Will I know who the contact is?

No. To protect patient privacy, contacts are told only that they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. You will not be told the identity of the patient who may have exposed you to the virus unless the patient has asked that you be told.

What can I do to help with the contract tracing effort?

When you talk to public health experts, please provide as much information as you can. It is very important that they be able to locate anyone you may have been in contact with.

You can help the process move more quickly if you start keeping a record now of the places you go each day and who you have contact with. If you are contacted by public health experts, you will be prepared to share the list with the public health expert to help speed up their contact tracing process.

You can download and print a contact tracking worksheet here.

Can I remain anonymous?

Yes. To protect patient privacy, contacts are told only that they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Contacts are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them, unless the patient specifically gives public health experts permission to share that information.

If I am contacted, can I decline to participate?

No, there are communicable disease statutes in place that require people with a communicable disease to provide local public health departments with as much information as possible to stop the spread of disease.

What data will I have to share?

You will be asked for names, phone numbers, addresses, and other identifying information you may have for anyone you may have been in contact with. This is to help the local public health department reach these contacts faster. A quick response can help significantly to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Isn’t this an invasion of people’s privacy?

Local public health experts understand your desire for privacy and must follow state and federal regulations on protecting personal health information. Your information will only be used to help slow and stop the spread of disease. Unless you give the local public health agency permission to share your name with contacts, they will not do so.

How can I ensure that you won’t abuse my information or privacy?

Local public health experts understand your desire for privacy. They are bound by state and federal regulations, including HIPAA. Your information will only be used to help slow and stop the spread of disease. Unless you give the local public health agency permission to share your name with contacts, they will not do so.

Your local public health department will not ask you for information that could be used by identity thieves, like social security numbers.

Summer Safety

Should we expect a second wave in the summer?

With stay-at-home orders and other restrictions lifted, local and state officials are closely monitoring for an increase in COVID-19 cases and possible second wave. If there is an increase in cases, states and counties may need to re-issue safeguards to stop the spread of the virus.

Can coronavirus spread in pools, creeks, or lakes?

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread through pools, creeks, rivers or lakes. Continue to practice physical distancing and avoid close contact with people you do not live with while enjoying activities around water. Source

Can I visit my family?

It is up to you and your family members to decide whether you are comfortable with the risk of visiting each other. Only you know how well you have been following public health guidelines to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (like asthma, lung disease, diabetes, or heart disease) appear to be at highest risk of becoming severely ill with the virus and should continue to avoid visiting with people they do not live with.

If you decide to visit with your family, it is best to practice physical distancing by staying 6 feet apart and avoiding close contact like hugging and kissing.

Should I send my child to camp, summer school or vacation Bible school?

Guidelines for these types of gatherings will vary from community to community. The best recommendations for your area will come from your local public health experts.

Talk with the event organizers to understand how they will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. Express any concerns you have about their ability to limit the spread of the virus during planned activities.

Teach your child about how to protect themselves and their friends from germs by:

  • Washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Not touching their face
  • Wearing a mask
  • Avoiding hugging, wrestling and other close contact with their friends
Should I postpone or cancel my event?

Continue to avoid any event where there are large groups of people. There will likely be limitations on events for some time. Check with your local public health department for guidance.

When will I be able to travel or go on vacation?

If you can avoid it, you should not travel or go on vacation. The CDC recommends that you stay home as much as possible and practice physical distancing. Traveling increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Remember that you can spread COVID-19 to others even if you are not showing symptoms. Keep in mind this will be a gradual process to return to a more familiar way of life, including travel. The more we stay at home and physically distancing from others, the sooner this will happen.

Can I travel to a state or country whose stay-at-home order has lifted?

Remember that even if a state or a country has lifted its stay-at-home order, it does not mean that the virus has been eliminated in that area. The safest option is to avoid nonessential travel and stay home.

If you do travel, wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth with a face mask, and stay at least 6 feet apart from other people when possible. Check local announcements to see if there are any restrictions or other travel disruptions you should know about before you go.

What if I have to travel for work or an emergency?

If you must travel, wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth with a face mask, and stay at least 6 feet apart from other people when possible.

Check local announcements to see if there are any restrictions or other travel disruptions you should know about before you go. Always follow recommended safety measures such as physical distancing and frequent hand washing.

If you think you have been exposed to the virus while traveling, self-quarantine to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. Call your doctor if you begin to develop symptoms.

Is COVID-19 seasonal? Could it return?

Researchers and experts are still working to determine if COVID-19 is seasonal or not. Some other types of coronavirus are seasonal, but this strain of coronavirus is still being researched. Seasonal viruses like the cold and flu do not go away entirely in summer months and can still spread from person to person.

Back to School

Who is responsible for planning for a safe return to school?

School leaders and local public health experts are working together to plan for the school year. Every school or school district will have an individual plan that fits the needs of the students and staff and is realistic for the schools to carry out.

Are school-age children at risk for COVID-19?

There is still a lot to learn about the virus, including what the long-term impacts of infection may be. We do know that anyone can catch COVID-19 and that it is impossible to predict how mild or severe it may become. People of all ages should take the virus seriously and take steps to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19. The best actions to take are frequent hand washing, physical distancing and wearing a face covering when in public.

What symptoms should keep someone home from school?

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, coughing, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Not everyone who has COVID-19 will have the same symptoms. Students and staff who are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should stay home and call their doctor for guidance. Generally, if you are not feeling well, you should stay home. It is a good idea to stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever, but you should check with your school for specific guidelines about when it is ok to return.

Can children wear masks for a full school day?

Yes. Children over age two can and should wear masks over their nose and mouth to stop the spread at school. Wearing a mask might be uncomfortable sometimes, but it is very important for keeping friends, classmates and teachers healthy. Make sure you have a mask that fits your child – and experiment with different kinds of masks to see which is the best for your child. Practicing wearing masks correctly over the summer can help ease children’s transition to wearing masks at school.

What happens when our school has a COVID-19 case?

When there is a case of COVID-19 at school, schools can follow a process similar to contact tracing to minimize the spread of the virus. Anyone who was in close contact with the patient would be asked to stay home and monitor their health to see if any symptoms develop. Keeping consistent seating charts in classrooms and on school buses can help schools alert those contacts quickly and stop the spread.

If there are multiple cases at one time or several days in a row with new cases, schools may need to close temporarily and will work with local public health experts to determine if additional steps are needed to stop the spread.

How long will we have to follow these guidelines?

We cannot predict exactly when we will be able to return to a more normal way of life in our communities and at school. It will take time and will likely not be over quickly. The more consistently we follow guidelines like physical distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands, the sooner it will happen.

Parents & Kids

How can I protect my child from COVID-19?

While children do not appear to be at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection, they may still get sick or spread the disease. Physical distancing and limiting their time with at-risk people help protect them from getting COVID-19. For a full list of suggestions and recommendations, visit the CDC’s page on caring for children.

What should I do if I’m pregnant?
  • It is important to protect yourself and your baby by washing your hands, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and avoiding people who are sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Pregnant people seem to have the same risk of COVID-19 as adults who are not pregnant. A very small number of newborn babies have tested positive for the virus. It is unknown if these babies got the virus before or after birth.
  • If you feel sick or your baby is sick, call your doctor right away. The CDC has more information on COVID-19 for pregnant and breastfeeding people.

Pets

Do I need to stay away from pets in my home if I have COVID-19?

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends staying away from pets if you are sick with COVID-19.

When possible, have another family member take care of feeding and caring for your pet. If this isn’t possible, or if you have a service animal, take the following precautions:

  • Wear a cloth face covering when caring for your pet or service animal if you do not have difficulty breathing.
  • Do not pet, share food, kiss, or hug your pet or service animal.
  • Wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal.
  • Do not share dishes, towels, or bedding with your pet or service animal.
  • If your pet is sick, call your local veterinarian. Tell them if you or a family member is sick with COVID-19. Source
Can I give COVID-19 to my pets?

Although we are still learning about this virus, it appears it can spread from people to animals in some situations. The CDC is aware of a small number of pets and animals both in the U.S. and abroad that have tested positive for COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people infected with COVID-19. If a person inside the household becomes sick, the CDC recommends isolating that person from everyone else, including pets. Source

COVID-19 & Missouri

Is Missouri currently on lockdown?

Missouri’s stay-at-home order from Governor Parson expired on May 4, 2020. Currently, Missouri is in Phase 1 of the “Show Me Strong” recovery order, which went into effect on June 1 and will continue through June 15 unless extended further. The order provides some loosening of restrictions with an emphasis on maintaining social distancing. A link to specifics of the order can be found here.

Why was the stay-at-home order needed?

“Stay Home Missouri” was put into place to protect public health and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The more consistently we all stay at home, follow physical distancing guidelines, and continue other actions like washing our hands, the sooner we will be able to return to a more familiar way of life.

Will another stay-at-home order go into effect?

The State of Missouri, under guidance from local, state and federal health officials, is continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 cases in the state. If a widespread increase in COVID-19 cases threatens the health and safety of Missourians, public health and government officials could decide to implement another stay-at-home order in the future.

Under a stay-at-home order, when can I leave my house?

You can leave your home for essential or necessary services. This includes going to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, gas stations, and banks. You can also participate in outdoor recreation like walking, running, or biking. When making essential trips or participating in activities outside, it is important to follow physical distancing guidelines, stay at least six feet away from others, and wear a face covering or mask.

Under a stay-at-home order, what counts as an essential or necessary trip?

Essential or necessary trips include going to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, gas stations, and banks. When making essential trips, it is important to follow physical distancing guidelines, stay at least six feet away from others, and wear a face covering or mask.

You should also designate one person from your household to make any necessary shopping trips. This limits the possibilities that someone in your home will be exposed to the virus.

To limit your trips, consider:

  • Mail-order for medications.
  • Grocery delivery services through your grocery store or services like Instacart.
  • Working from home if possible.
  • Stores that offer curbside pickup and will bring orders out to your car.
Can I go outdoors?

Yes, you can participate in outdoor recreation like walking, running, or biking. Remember to keep at least six feet away from others. Avoid public spaces like parks or popular hiking trails to limit your contact with others.

Can I go to church?

Under Governor Parson’s “Show Me Strong” recovery order, individuals may attend places of worship, provided that limitations on social distancing are properly adhered to. If wanting to limit exposure, look for alternatives to view church services online or on TV and connect with family and faith community members via video chat or phone calls.

Doesn’t this infringe on my religious freedom?

Every aspect of all our lives is being impacted by COVID-19, including our religious practices. We must change our normal behaviors to stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes how we learn, how we work, and how we worship. We encourage Missourians to either worship at home virtually or worship in-person with social distancing.

Can I go to the grocery store?

Yes, you can go to the grocery store. Remember to follow physical distancing guidelines, stay at least six feet away from others, and wear a face covering. You should also designate one person from your household to go. This limits the possibilities that someone in your home will be exposed to the virus. You can also consider grocery delivery services through your grocery store or services like Instacart.

Can I go to a restaurant?

Although restaurants may now offer dine-in service while adhering to spacing guidelines as outlined in Governor Parson’s “Show Me Strong” recovery plan, we encourage you to utilize curbside pickup or delivery options to minimize exposure. If wanting to eat inside, please maintain social distancing and abide by dine-in policies as outlined by the restaurant.

Can I go to the park?

You may visit parks and enjoy outdoor recreation while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Limit your contact with other people and with frequently touched surfaces like playground equipment. You can participate in outdoor recreation like walking, running, or biking. Remember to keep at least six feet away from others.

How can I limit my essential trips?

To limit your trips, consider:

  • Mail-order for medications.
  • Grocery delivery services through your grocery store or services like Instacart.
  • Working from home if possible.
  • Stores that offer curbside pickup and will bring orders out to your car.
Can I visit friends and family if I maintain physical distancing?

Physical distancing means staying at least six feet away from anyone you don’t live with. It can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by reducing close contact between people. This means avoid having any unnecessary visitors or workers in your house, and do not visit others in their homes. The more consistently we all stay at home, follow physical distancing guidelines, and continue other actions like washing our hands, the sooner we will be able to return to a more familiar way of life.

Can I visit elderly friends or family?

Under Phase 1 of the “Show Me Strong” recovery order, individuals cannot visit nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, or assisted living homes unless to provide critical assistance or in end-of-life circumstances. Elderly or otherwise high-risk populations should take enhanced precautionary measures to limit exposure and potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

Are rural communities safer than urban communities?

No. Rural areas have a unique set of things to consider when it comes to managing a pandemic illness like COVID-19. Here are some important things to remember:

  • COVID-19 is spread from person to person and the virus can affect any of us. All Missourians should take the risk of COVID-19 seriously.
  • Rural communities tend to be older with more pre-existing medical conditions, populations which are at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Rural communities have less access to doctors and healthcare facilities. These facilities in nearby communities may already be struggling to handle the existing cases in areas that have already been harder hit.
  • Though the numbers may be lower than urban areas, once these communities start to see cases, they might struggle to fill basic public safety and administrative roles, especially if people such as police officers and firefighters get sick and have to self-quarantine.

The best way to keep you and your community safe and keep the number of infections low is to stay home as much as possible, wash your hands frequently and if you must go out, wear a cloth face covering or mask.

Why do the numbers differ from the county to the state?

As additional information is determined on new cases, information such as county, demographics, and total counts will continue to change. Efforts are continually being made to improve data quality so that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is providing the most accurate information possible. Source

“Reopening” or Return to Normal

When will everything go back to normal?

It is impossible to predict exactly when we will be able to fully return to a more familiar way of life. It will take time and will likely not be over quickly. The more consistently we all stay at home, follow physical distancing guidelines, and continue other actions like washing our hands, the sooner it will happen.

Keep in mind that there will be a slow process of returning to normal and moving about in public freely. Physical distancing and other safety practices like staying at home will likely need to continue for some time to make sure there is not a new increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. For example, when stay-at-home orders are lifted, there may still be limitations on how large group gatherings can be.

As we continue the “reopening” process, could there be another outbreak of COVID-19?

There will be a slow process of returning to normal and moving about in public freely. Physical distancing and other safety practices like staying at home will likely need to continue for some time to make sure there is not a new increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

It’s possible we could see an increase in COVID-19 cases as stay-at-home orders and other restrictions have been lifted. If so, states and counties may need to re-issue stay-at-home orders or put other limitations in place.

Should I postpone or cancel my event?

There will be a slow process of returning to normal and hosting large group gatherings. There will likely be limitations on events for some time. Check with your local public health department for guidance.

When will I be able to travel or go on vacation?

It is impossible to predict exactly when we will be able to fully return to a more familiar way of life. Keep in mind that there will be a slow process of returning to normal. There will likely be travel restrictions for some time.

Can I travel to a state or country whose quarantine has been lifted?

Remember that even if a state or a country has lifted its stay at home order, it doesn’t mean that the virus has been eliminated in that region. The best action is to avoid any nonessential travel and stay home. If must travel, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, cover your nose and mouth with a face mask, and stay at least six feet apart from other people when possible. Check local announcements to see if there are any restrictions, concerns or other travel disruptions you should know before you go.

What if I have to travel for work or an emergency?

With states around the country reopening at different times and at different rates, it is important you know the status of the city, state or country you are going to. Always follow recommended safety measures such as physical distancing and frequent hand washing. If you think you have been exposed to the virus, self-quarantine to avoid potentially spreading COVID-19 in your community and call your local health department if you begin to develop symptoms.

Myths

Should I stock up on food and supplies?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends buying what your family needs for a week. Buying weeks or months of supplies in advance leads to shortages and makes it difficult for other families to take care of themselves. Consumer demand has been exceptionally high, especially for groceries, cleaning supplies and healthcare products. Supply chains haven’t been disrupted, but stores need time to restock.

Can herd immunity protect us from COVID-19?

No. Herd immunity is not a solution for COVID-19 for a few reasons:

  • Herd immunity to diseases like mumps and polio is possible because of vaccines. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • In most cases, more than 80 percent of a population needs to be immune to stop the spread of a contagious disease like COVID-19. If too many people become infected, our healthcare system will be overburdened, and many more people will die.
  • There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you or your family members. Even young, healthy people can become very ill from the virus.
  • It may be possible to be infected with COVID-19 more than once. Even if you recover from COVID-19, it is possible you could become infected again or pass the virus to others.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3

Coping & Self-Care

Community

One for All Missouri Campaign

What is the One for All Missouri campaign?

One for All Missouri is a campaign aimed at sharing accurate, timely, easy-to-understand information and resources on COVID-19 with Missourians so we can stop the spread of the virus. One for All Missouri is a collaborative effort led by Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence and powered by Missouri Foundation for Health.

How can I get involved?

Stopping the spread of COVID-19 must be a statewide effort. We all need to do our part to protect ourselves, our loved ones and neighbors. This includes:

  • Staying home.
  • Following guidance from local public health experts.
  • Staying in touch with loved ones online and over the phone.
  • Keeping a log of people you have come into contact with.
  • Using your voice to share clear and accurate information about COVID-19 with friends and loved ones and urge them to take similar safety measures.