Precautions You Can Take

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Everyone is at risk for getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill, which means that they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die.  Those considered “high risk” include adults 60 and older, or anyone with a serious medical condition, including heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or anyone who has a suppressed immune system.

Every resident should take these basic steps to protect themselves and those most at risk:

  • Wash your hands often
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • It’s especially important to wash:
      • Before eating or preparing food
      • Before touching your face
      • After using the restroom
      • After leaving a public place
      • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
      • After handling your mask
      • After changing a diaper
      • After caring for someone sick
      • After touching animals or pets
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact
    • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
      • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
    • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
      • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
      • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
      • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
      • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect
    • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
  • Monitor Your Health Daily
    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
    • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
    • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Develop a care plan

During the COVID-19 pandemic, having a care plan is an important part of emergency preparedness.

A care plan summarizes your health conditions, medicines, healthcare providers, emergency contacts, and end-of-life care options (for example, advance directives). Complete your care plan in consultation with your doctor, and if needed, with help from a family member or home nurse aide.

Get your household ready for COVID-19.

As a family, you can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family.