Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html. The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person to person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some diseases are highly contagious (like measles), while other diseases are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
• shortness of breath
There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
If you are sick, to help keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should
- Stay at home when you are sick with mild to moderate symptoms. However, if you're having shortness of breath or other severe symptoms, please call your doctor or 911
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
If you think that you may potentially have COVID-19, isolate yourself away from other people but be sure to keep in touch with loved ones, shelter in place, call your doctor and follow his/her directions. If you feel you have a life threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1.
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