The coronavirus (COVID-19) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
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 possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Watch for symptoms. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately.
Emergency warning signs include: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. This list is not all inclusive.
Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.