There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 so the best way to avoid getting it is to avoid being exposed to it.
NYS Department of Health Advisory: COVID 19 and the Use of Cloth Face Coverings [Apr 8, 2020]
The 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus is thought to spread person to person by droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those in close contact (within about 6 feet) may have those droplets land on them or inhale them and are exposed. The virus can also survive for a long time on surfaces where the droplets land, and can be picked up when you touch that surface and then touch your face.
The Novel Coronavirus can cause an illness called COVID-19, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe that can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath. A detailed list of symptoms can be found on the CDC website.
Individuals who are symptomatic or who have come in close contact (e.g., same classroom, office or gathering) with a person who is confirmed positive — or who is symptomatic and has not tested positive for any other infection — should call ahead to their health care provider before seeking treatment in person.
If you do get COVID-19, most cases can be managed at home. The CDC website explains what you should do if you are sick.
A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. A novel coronavirus was recently identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019 (2019-nCoV). This novel coronavirus has since been identified outside of China, in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States which had its first case confirmed on 1/20/2020. It is possible that more cases of 2019-nCoV will be identified in the future.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Initially, most patients with COVID-19 have had links to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread, but we now know COVID-19 can spread person-to-person via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Yes, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person-to-person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household or health care setting.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).
- Shortness of breath
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Quarantine is the practice of limiting movement of a person who may be exposed to COVID-19 for 14 days to limit the spread of the disease in the community.
What does this mean?
- Remain separate from family members and friends (e.g., stay in their own bedroom, with a bathroom to themselves). If sharing a bathroom, it must be cleaned after every use.
- No face to face contact with family members or friends closer than 6 feet for a 14 day period (the incubation period).
- Closely monitor for symptoms such as a temperature above 100.5, cough, or other signs of feeling unwell. If such signs and symptoms occur, immediately contact your primary care provider and the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH) for guidance.
- Staff from the ACDOH will be reaching out daily to check progress and to ensure appropriate quarantine measures are being implemented.
- You MUST stay on quarantine until the end of the period regardless of test results.
- Individuals who do not comply with voluntary quarantine can be moved to mandatory quarantine. Violation of mandatory quarantine has legal consequences.
There is no specific treatment for illness caused by coronavirus. Most people will recover on their own after resting and drinking plenty of fluids. To relieve symptoms, people with the virus can take pain and fever medication, use a room humidifier or take hot showers to help ease a sore throat and cough.
Practicing "social distancing" is one of the most important things we can all do to protect ourselves and each other:
- Keep a 6 foot distance between you and others when out in the community -- even if you don't feel sick or have any symptoms
- Stay home when you are sick
- Call your health care provider in advance of a visit
- Limit movement in the community i.e. attendance at events, restaurants, parties, etc.
- Limit visitors to your home
- Avoid direct physical contact such as hand-shaking, holding hands, and hugging.
If you are not on quarantine, the following activities may be enjoyed while practicing social distancing:
- Take walks, runs, and bike rides outside. Remember to maintain a 6 foot distance between you and others that are joining you.
- Play games outside with members of your household verses with outside friends
- Stay connected with others through phone or video
Good hand washing practices and respiratory hygiene, safe food practices and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing are the best ways to prevent coronavirus infection.
New Yorkers can call 1 (888) 364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms
We now know that individuals who lack symptoms and/or develop symptoms later can spread the virus to others before showing symptoms (see recent studies). This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
CDC recommends the following when wearing cloth face coverings:
- Make sure that it fits snugly and covers your nose and mouth.
- Maintain 6-feet of social distancing even with face mask.
- Wash cloth face mask with detergent and hot water (i.e. washing machine) often.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth when removing mask.
- Wash hands immediately after removing mask.
- The following individuals should NOT wear face masks:
- Children under age 2,
- Anyone who has trouble breathing,
- Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove mask without assistance.
Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks and N-95 respirators. CDC recommends that those critical supplies continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders.
Resource: Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html. Published April 3, 2020. Accessed April 6, 2020.