The outbreak of novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated "COVID-19) is leaving many of us looking for answers on what precautions we can take to prevent more people from contracting the virus. Multiple resources including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have listed multiple steps we can take to help stop the virus from spreading.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that was first encountered in China and has since spread globally and was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization as of March 11, 2020. This virus comes from a family of viruses known as Coronaviruses which are commonly found in both humans and various animals. The novel (new) Coronavirus known as COVID-19 is the latest of the Coronaviruses.
How Does the Virus Spread?
COVID-19 is being spread mainly from person-to-person contact by:
Close contact at up to approximately 6 feet
Respiratory droplets that result from sneezes or coughs of someone who is infected
COVID-19 also spreads from contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
Shortness of breath
It is common for the virus to be mistaken with other common illnesses. The following chart from the CDC compares symptoms of COVID-19, the common cold, and flu.
How to Protect Yourself
Steps to protect yourself from illness include:
Clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
Clean and disinfect surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
How to Protect Others
If you are sick:
Stay home except to seek medical care
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Wear a facemask when you are around others
Clean and disinfect surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, or any other surfaces you may come in contact with
To help minimize the spread of infection, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) is responding actively to the situation and has posted the following chart for guidance.
When to seek Care
If you have symptoms of COVID-19:
Stay home except to get medical care
Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
Monitor your symptoms
Seek medical attention: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
Wear a facemask when sick: Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
Alert health department: Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.