COVID-19 Coronavirus Facts

on March 9, 2020

How COVID-19 spreads

  • Spreads 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 or sneezes
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms
  • Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads

How easily does the virus spread?

  • How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Symptoms

  • Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
  • The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath

Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

Prevention

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus disease
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure
  • Everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

When & How to Wash Your Hands

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.  Follow these five steps every time:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available

*Source: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation. For general questions about COVID-19, please contact the New York State Department of Health Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

For Orange County residents including students, parents, and guardians who have recently traveled outside the U.S. and/or may have had any exposure to individuals with COVID-19 and who have questions regarding COVID-19, please contact the Orange County Department of Health at 845-291-2330.

Frequently Asked Questions:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html