COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
- Shortness of breath
According to the CDC, symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread from person to person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. The virus can spread through:
- Coughing and sneezing,
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands, and
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
Close contact means living in the same household as a person who is confirmed, presumed or suspected of having novel coronavirus. Examples of close contact include close conversation (within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes), hugging, kissing, sharing food or eating utensils, and other contact with respiratory secretions of a person with the virus.
Exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can happen from a person who has a confirmed case of the virus, or from living in or traveling to an area with recent local spread of the virus. The following are not considered close contact:
- Living in a city or town where there are one or more confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (although this does increase the risk of exposure).
- Being in the same school, church, workplace or building as a person with the virus. Exception: Close contact with a symptomatic person, such as sitting within 6 feet of them for more than 10 minutes.
- Walking by a person who has novel coronavirus.
People should be tested if they become ill with cough with or without a fever within 14 days of travel to a region with sustained community transmission. CDC list of these areas.
Currently testing is not recommended for the following:
- Those who have become ill within 14 days of travel to areas in the U.S. unless they have been in contact with a known case or cluster of cases, and
- Those without symptoms or who do not have a link to an affected region or person within 14 days.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Wash hands after getting home or touching door knobs, railings, grocery store carts, gas pumps, bathroom fixtures and other public surfaces.
- Don’t touch your face, including your mouth, eyes or nose.
- Use household cleaning sprays or wipes to clean “high-touch” surfaces at home, like kitchen counters, tabletops, toilets and phones.
- Clean your cell phone regularly with a disinfecting wipe.
If you have traveled outside the U.S. recently and are sick with cold or flu-like symptoms, call your doctor and tell them your symptoms and where you traveled. Also see question below.
It’s important that you follow the CDC’s steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:
- Stay home except to get medical care. People with mild illness from COVID-19 can isolate at home during their illness. Do not go to work, school or daycare.
- Contact your physician or the facility where you receive medical care.
- Monitor your symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness worsens (for example, you have difficulty breathing).
- Call ahead before visiting a doctor. Call your provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help prevent other people at the provider’s office from getting infected or exposed.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from others in your home. Also use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Wear a facemask when you are around other people or pets and before entering your health care provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask, people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you or should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and throw away used tissues in a lined trash can. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean your hands often. You can use soap and water or, if not available, a hand rub containing alcohol.
- Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Also clean any surfaces with blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe.