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Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus strain spreading from person-to-person that has not been previously identified. It is currently in the United States and most other countries in the world. Health experts are concerned because this new virus spreads easily and has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people — especially people over age 60 or who have weakened immune systems.
The virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet, or 2 arm lengths). It spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Health experts are still learning more about the spread and severity of illness COVID-19 causes. LEARN MORE >
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. This list is not all possible symptoms. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. LEARN MORE >
If you have COVID-19-like symptoms or think you have been exposed, contact your health care provider.
Do not go to the emergency room, unless it is a medical emergency. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have difficulty breathing, it doesn’t mean you have novel coronavirus, but you should call 911.
If you’re over 60 and you have underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, come up with a plan with your doctor to identify your health risks for COVID-19 and how to manage symptoms. Contact your doctor right away if you do have symptoms.
It’s important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The following can protect you and others:
There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases may require medical care or hospitalization.
The CDC recommends that in communities like Brookings, where there is significant community-based transmission, all individuals cover their noses and mouths with a mask / face covering to prevent spreading COVID-19. We know people with COVID-19 may not show symptoms and can still spread the virus to others. Research indicates wearing a mask / face covering can significantly reduce the spread. We have made progress slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community, but most people do not have immunity to the disease and remain susceptible. As a community, a surge of new cases could make many more people ill and overwhelm our health care system’s ability to treat those with serious complications of the disease and non-COVID related emergencies.
All individuals are required to wear a mask in any indoor business and/or indoor public space if six (6) feet or more of social distancing isn’t possible. Exceptions are listed here.
Anyone who is experiencing even mild COVID-like symptoms should isolate themselves away from others and call their health care provider.
Getting tested as soon as possible is important to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Anyone with these symptoms should call their provider to be evaluated for a test:
It is important to isolate yourself as soon as you develop symptoms, even before you are tested, because if you have COVID-19, you are already contagious.
Most testing is completed through your health care provider. You should call your healthcare provider if you feel sick, live in the same household as someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Each health care system has its own testing processes. Many providers require appointments to prevent overcrowding and to be sure that they have supplies.
Maybe; not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and want to get tested, call your health care provider first. Most people will have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and may not need to be tested.
Quarantine is put into place to prevent the possible spread of an infectious disease from someone who may have been exposed to the disease but is not yet sick. When people are quarantined, they are kept separate from others until they are out of the period when they could get sick. During that time, health officials track their health so that if they do develop symptoms, they can get them to a health care provider quickly for evaluation, testing if needed, and care.
Yes. Quarantine is for people who are not currently showing symptoms but are at increased risk for having been exposed to an infectious disease. Quarantine is for people who could become sick and spread the infection to others. Isolation is used for people who are currently ill and able to spread the disease and who need to stay away from others in order to avoid infecting them.
When people are in self-quarantine, they have no symptoms, but because there is a possibility that they might have been exposed, they stay away from others in public settings. For 14 days from their last possible exposure, people in self-quarantine cannot go to work, school, or any public places where they could have close contact with others. Public health departments direct them in how to monitor their health so that should they develop symptoms, they can be quickly and safely isolated from all others, including those in their household.
You should keep apart from others, even in your household, as much as possible. Stay away from others, even if you are not showing symptoms, because the virus can spread before symptoms appear.
Most people who get COVID-19 will be able to recover at home. CDC has directions for people who are recovering at home and their caregivers, including:
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Create a household plan of action to help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. Use our checklist to make your Household Game Plan.
Plan for potential changes at your workplace. Talk to your employer about their emergency operations plan, including sick-leave policies and telework options. Learn how businesses and employers can plan for and respond to COVID-19.
Pandemics are stressful. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and our community stronger. LEARN MORE >