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About COVID-19 & FAQs


About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) differs from the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. COVID-19 is a new strain not previously been seen in humans.

Thought to spread mainly from person to person, primarily by droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus produces a variety of  symptoms, sometimes severe, including a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED OCT. 19: What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus discovered in 2019, and which caused a worldwide pandemic. It spreads primarily person to person by respiratory droplets created when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes.
 
People can have a wide range of symptoms, from mild symptoms to severe illness or death. Anyone can get severely ill with COVID-19, especially older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and can include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, runny nose or congestion, headache, new loss of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Some people can be infected and have no symptoms, but they can still spread the disease. Diagnosis is through a laboratory test. 

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by vaccination. Learn more about COVID-19

 

UPDATED OCT. 19: How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 can spread in several ways:
  • Breathing in the air near an infected person who is breathing out small respiratory droplets and particles that have the virus in them.
  • Having these droplets land on the eyes, nose or mouth, especially when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks.
  • Touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands that may have virus particles on them.
People closer than 6 feet from an infected person are most likely to become infected. Protect yourself by getting vaccinated, washing your hands often, and wearing a mask in public indoor places and certain crowded outdoor places. Learn more about the how COVID-19 spreads and how you can protect yourself and those around you from becoming infected.

UPDATED OCT. 19: How long can the virus survive on surfaces?

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, can live on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to weeks, depending on the type of surface. The most common way people become infected is by breathing in respiratory droplets that an infected person breathes out or by having these droplets land on their eyes, nose or mouth from an infected person coughing or sneezing.
 
Infection is possible from touching a surface with viral particles on it and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth, but this is less common. Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, and bedside tables, plus frequent hand-washing will help avoid potential infection from surfaces.

UPDATED OCT. 19: Who is at greater risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

The risk of severe illness increases with age. Older, unvaccinated adults are more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. Over 80% of COVID-19 deaths occur in people over age 65. People of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are also more likely to get severely ill from the virus. The CDC has an updated list of medical conditions that increase risk. People from many racial and ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities are also at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19 due to long-standing systemic health and social inequities.

What about the virus in animals and pets?

Please see the FAQs from Pima Animal Care Center regarding animals, pets and COVID-19.

Variants

UPDATED OCT. 19: What is the recommended guidance for protection against the Delta variant?

The Delta variant is spreading rapidly in the community and is now responsible for over 80% of new COVID-19 infections. Virtually all of the hospitalizations and deaths are occurring in people who have not gotten vaccinated yet. 

This variant is concerning to health experts because it spreads more than twice as easily as earlier strains of the virus. People infected with Delta produce much more virus in their body that they can then spread to those around them.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated as soon as you can. Getting vaccinated helps prevent the severe illness, hospitalization and death that may result from infection with Delta, and helps reduce community spread. COVID-19 vaccinations are free, and you can find a list of places to get one here.

Although rare, it is possible for fully vaccinated people to catch the Delta variant in what is called a “breakthrough infection.” Unlike those who have not yet been vaccinated, fully vaccinated people overwhelmingly are protected from hospitalization or death.

There is some evidence to suggest that fully vaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant may be infectious and may be able to spread the virus to others. This is believed to be rare, with vaccinated people representing a very small amount of the transmission occurring in communities.

The Pima County Health Department strongly recommends all Pima County residents age 5 and older (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear masks in public indoor settings if six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained.  The Health Department also strongly recommends all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools wear masks indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Teachers, school administrators and staff should follow CDC's school guidance. Read the Health Department’s latest Public Health Advisory.

The CDC recommends that if you are fully vaccinated and have been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 5-7 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days after exposure or until you get a negative test result. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

All unvaccinated individuals should continue masking and following all COVID-19 prevention precautions (6 foot distancing from those not in one’s household, hand-washing, and avoiding crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings) until they are fully vaccinated. The CDC provides guidance for families who have both vaccinated and unvaccinated members in their household.

The CDC has updated guidance on how to protect yourself and others, as well as updated guidance for fully vaccinated people. Health experts and researchers are continuing to learn more about this variant, and this guidance may change as more information emerges.

UPDATED SEPT. 3: What is a virus variant, and are some more dangerous than others?

Viruses are always changing through a process called mutation. Mutations create different versions, or “variants” of viruses that may give the virus different characteristics. Some new variants appear and disappear, while others may persist. Sometimes variants emerge that allow a virus to spread more quickly and easily, or that are more dangerous and can cause more severe illness. Sometimes a treatment that had worked in the past against earlier variants may no longer work against a new one.
 
Some COVID-19 variants can be more dangerous. For instance, the Delta variant spreads much faster than the earlier variants, and it may cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people. The best way to slow the numbers of emerging new variants is to reduce the number of new infections. The way to do this is by getting the vaccine and wearing a mask when indoors in public. All of the current COVID-19 vaccines used in the U.S. are effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Being vaccinated will also help prevent increasing numbers of new infections and severe illness, which can overburden and strain our healthcare resources. There are many Pima County locations offering free COVID-19 vaccinations.
 
Read more from the CDC on what you need to know about variants, and the kinds of variants being tracked by the CDC.

UPDATED MAR. 26: How are variants monitored?

The CDC uses genomic surveillance to track emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants in the US through several approaches.

Since November 2020, state health departments and public agencies send samples to the CDC’s National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3) system for genetic sequencing and evaluation. The CDC also partners with commercial diagnostic labs, collaborates with universities, and supports state, local and tribal health departments. More details are available on the SARS-CoV-2 variant genomic surveillance page.

Pima County randomly sends 5% of positive COVID-19 PCR test samples to the state and/or the laboratory TGen in Flagstaff for genomic sequencing. It takes about 10-21 days for the sequencing results to be reported to Pima County. Variants identified in Pima County and throughout the state are reported on the Arizona SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Dashboard.

UPDATED MAR. 26: Do the COVID-19 PCR or serology tests detect if someone has one of the variants?

No, the tests only detect whether or not someone has or has had COVID-19, and not whether someone is/was infected with one of the variants.

Prevention

UPDATED OCT. 19: How can I protect myself and others?

The best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccinations are free; here is a list of places where you can find one.

The Pima County Health Department strongly recommends all Pima County residents age 5 and older (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear masks in public indoor settings if six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained. For more information, see the Health Department’s latest Public Health Advisory.

The Health Department also strongly recommends all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools wear masks indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Teachers, school administrators and staff should follow CDC's school guidance.

Fully vaccinated as well as unvaccinated individuals who are immune compromised, including those undergoing transplant or cancer treatment, should seek the guidance of health care provider before discontinuing mask use.

The CDC recommends that if you are fully vaccinated and were around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 5-7 days after exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days after exposure or until you get a negative test result. If your test result is positive, you should isolate for 10 days.

Read more from the CDC about precautions you can take to protect yourself and unvaccinated family members.

UPDATED AUG 10: What are the most recent masking recommendations?

The Pima County Health Department strongly recommends all Pima County residents age 5 and older (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear masks in public indoor settings if six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained. For more information, see the Health Department’s latest Public Health Advisory.
 
The Health Department also strongly recommends all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools wear masks indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Teachers, school administrators and staff should follow CDC's school guidance.
 
Fully vaccinated as well as unvaccinated individuals who are immune compromised, including those undergoing transplant or cancer treatment, should seek the guidance of health care provider before discontinuing mask use.
 
Regardless of vaccination status, correct use of well-fitted face coverings may be required by businesses, health care facilities, public transportation or other entities that serve the public. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

Find more about masks from the CDC’s guide to masking.

Testing

UPDATED OCT. 20: Who should be tested for COVID-19?

The following groups of people should be tested:
  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.
  • People who have had close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
    • Fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should get tested 5-7 days after exposure, even if they themselves do not have symptoms.
    • People not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately and quarantine. If the test result is negative, they should test again in 5-7 days after the exposure, or right away if they develop symptoms while quarantined.
Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status should wear a mask, isolate themselves from others, and follow their health care provider’s guidance.
 
Read more about who should be tested, and guidelines for people who have been fully vaccinated.
Looking for a test? Learn about free testing and testing locations in Pima County.

Where can I get tested?

Pima County offers a variety of locations for free COVID-19 testing.

Need more information about how to schedule the test, including what actually happens when you arrive for your test? The Sonora Environmental Research Institute, El Rio Health and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman School of Public Health have created a guide to help you know what to expect which you can read or watch.

Now that we have COVID-19 vaccines, is testing still necessary?

Yes, testing still remains a critical tool for keeping track of the virus and to ensure continued progress against the pandemic. Testing helps identify and isolate new cases, screen for asymptomatic infections, and to detect emerging new variants. Vaccines offer a path out of this pandemic, but only as a part of other mitigation strategies including testing.

Even after you have been vaccinated, it is still very important that you get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Confirmed Cases

UPDATED APR. 15: What is isolation?

Isolation keeps someone who is infected with a contagious disease away from people who are not infected, even away from those inside their own home. It is recommended for anyone testing positive for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not.

Fully vaccinated people are at low risk for infection with COVID-19, however fully vaccinated people with symptoms should still isolate from others, and be evaluated for COVID-19, including testing if needed. They should also tell the healthcare provider about their vaccination status.

The CDC recommends people in isolation stay home except to get medical care and take the following steps:

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning signs (including difficulty getting enough air, chest pain, change in alertness or responsiveness, bluish lips or face, or rapid breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils
  • Wear a mask when around other people, if you are able to.

UPDATED APR.15: How long after isolating may I return to my normal activities?

When you can discontinue isolation depends upon a number of factors. These include whether or not you had symptoms, were hospitalized, or have a weakened immune system. See the CDC’s isolation recommendations

UPDATED OCT. 19: What is quarantine?

Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. It helps to reduce the risk that someone might spread the disease to others before they even know they are sick or if they are infected but without symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home for 14 days after their last contact with a person who has COVID-19, separate themselves from others, watch for symptoms and follow the recommendations from the state or local health department. The health department may consider stopping quarantine after day 7 after receiving a negative test result (tested on day 5 or later), or after 10 days without testing.
 
Fully vaccinated people without symptoms do not need to quarantine, but the CDC recommends that they receive a COVID-19 test 5-7 days after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, and they should continue to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until they receive a negative test result. They should also watch for symptoms for 2 weeks following an exposure. A fully vaccinated person who receives a positive test result, or later develops COVID-19 symptoms, should isolate themselves from others and be evaluated for COVID-19 by a healthcare provider.
 
Due to the prevalence of the highly contagious Delta variant, the Pima County Health Department strongly recommends that everyone 5 years and older wear a mask indoors in public regardless of vaccination status. Read the latest Public Health Advisory for more on masking and prevention measures.
 

UPDATED APR. 15: What is the estimated wait period before someone is no longer considered contagious?

CDC guidance indicates this depends upon a number of factors, including how sick someone was and whether they have a weakened immune system.

Where can I get information about the COVID-19 status in Arizona and Pima County?

View the latest data reports on COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and current progress.

What level of information can we disclose regarding positive cases in Pima County?

For all positive cases of COVID-19, we are disclosing the age range of the person and their recovering status, meaning if they are recovering in or out a hospital. Where someone lives, works, got infected, and traveled are all very different. Trying to memorialize “where” the risk was is very difficult and could actually end up misleading. We recognize that people are concerned about areas where they should be cautious. With a virus as contagious as this is proving to be, we recommend that people take precautions everywhere they go. The best thing people can do is practice those prevention and social distancing recommendations they are hearing so much about.

What is the definition of a recovered patient?

Someone who has been released from care and considered a “recovered patient” means the person is no longer sick, has no complications from the illness and is no longer considered contagious.

UPDATED APR. 22: Can I have long-term effects even after recovering from COVID-19?

Yes you can. Most people infected with COVID-19 do ultimately get better after a few weeks or months of illness, but others may develop short or long-term health complications from the virus. Complications persisting more than 4 weeks after initial COVID-19 infection are called post-COVID conditions. They include long COVID, multiorgan effects, and effects from being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Long COVID can appear weeks after infection and can affect anyone who had COVID, even if their illness was mild or they had no symptoms. Dr. Jason Maley, instructor at Harvard Medical School and director of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Critical Illness and COVID-19 Survivorship Program treats people suffering from long COVID, and notes that these patients tend to be younger.

“It’s mainly people 20s to 50s,” he said. “Overall, long COVID refers to unexplained symptoms that are usually in younger people and usually people who didn’t initially have to be in the hospital or weren’t severely sick with COVID.”
Long COVID includes a range of problems such as:
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes called “brain fog”)
  • Headache
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Dizziness on standing
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities
Multiorgan effects may affect the functioning of most of the body’s systems, including brain, heart, lungs, skin or kidneys. They include autoimmune conditions or multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS), a condition in which parts of the body and organs swell. Post-COVID conditions from hospitalization include post-intensive care syndrome with symptoms such as weakness or post-traumatic stress disorder.  

It is unknown why some people develop post-COVID conditions and others do not, what the underlying biological cause for these conditions might be, and if they might resolve. Learn more about post-COVID conditions, and read more of Dr. Maley’s interview on long-COVID.

The best way to prevent post-COVID conditions is to prevent catching the virus. You can protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, physical distancing, handwashing, and avoiding crowds and poorly-ventilated indoor spaces.

Schools

Where can parents, school administrators, educators and child care providers find guidance and assistance?

Pima County has gathered the information, tools and answers to all of your questions.

Businesses

UPDATED DEC. 22: Where can business owners and workers find the current best practices and requirements during this pandemic?

We have plenty of resources and guidance to help you navigate the latest standards and requirements whether you are business owner or an employee.

How do I report a business safety standard violation?

The Pima County Health Department is encouraging through its inspection process all area restaurants, pools, gyms, fitness centers, hotels and resorts and other business covered by the Pima County Board of Supervisors Proclamation to adopt minimum public health safety standards during the pandemic. The new rules revise, amend and delete some of the rules passed May 13. You can see all of the standards by type of regulated business here. If a business that should be following these standards is not, you can report it using the COVID-19 Safety Standards Business & Community Reporting form and our Consumer Health Food Safety team will contact the business and provide education and guidance. 

Can Pima County force other non-social gathering businesses to close?

Governor Ducey's Executive Order 2020-36 prohibits local municipalities like cities and counties from making any policies that are in conflict with his order, including ordering businesses to close. 

UPDATED DEC. 4: Where should the food industry go for guidance about business operations?

The Pima County Board of Supervisors on December 4, 2020 revised rules for protective measures some businesses should follow during a pandemic. The changes built on those implemented after extensive feedback gathered from the business community, primarily restaurants. Read the December 4 Proclamation for more details on the temporary measures applicable to all restaurants and other dine-in establishments.

We have additional resources and guidance for restaurants and businesses.

Are adult care facilities still open?

Yes, at this time there is no directive at this time to close this type of center. Adult day centers are being instructed to practice the same prevention measures as the general community and other facilities by practicing social distancing as much as possible, screening participants for symptoms, practicing good hygiene and cleaning and disinfecting. Adult Day Care Centers are asked to not allow any visitors or non-critical staff.

Are workers in the human and animal food and feed sector considered part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce?

Yes, in a guidance issued by Department of Homeland Security on March 19 Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19, workers in the Food and Agriculture sector – agricultural production, food processing, distribution, retail and food service and allied industries – are named as essential critical infrastructure workers. Promoting the ability of our workers within the food and agriculture industry to continue to work during periods of community restrictions, social distances, and closure orders, among others, is crucial to community continuity and community resilience.

Volunteer and Donation Info

What can I do to help my community during the COVID-19 outbreak?

If you are a healthcare provider with an active license, a public health professional, member of a medical disaster response team, or non-health community volunteer willing to be on-call to support Arizona in the event of a disaster, you can help support public health emergency preparedness. Find more info and a registration link at https://esar-vhp.health.azdhs.gov/.

Additionally, the American Red Cross has reported a shortage in blood donations. So, if you’re in a position to give blood, you might consider donating as another option. To schedule an appointment, visit http://rcblood.org/appt

You can also write a note to somebody who is physically-distanced in a long term care facility with the Pima Love Notes project.

Lastly, follow the social distancing recommendations and wear a cloth face covering when in public around others. Health professionals agree that the COVID-19 outbreak is going to take several months to resolve, which means it’s up to us to protect our community.

Glossary of Terms

UPDATED JAN. 25: Contingency and crisis standards of care

Normally, hospitals operate under conventional standards of care, in which care is provided to patients without any changes in daily practice. During demand surges like those seen annually during cold and flu season, hospitals might alter their staffing by having physicians cover different departments, or temporarily divert ambulances to other hospitals, but staff all still work within their scope of expertise and follow standard protocols regarding who gets care and what sorts of treatments or therapies patients might receive. Patients who show up needing care still receive it.

When demand starts to exceed space and staffing resources, hospitals transition to a contingency standard of care. They change their daily practices to do whatever possible to maintain their normal standard of care. Space gets used differently, so an operating room might become a makeshift intensive care unit. Non-emergency procedures or surgeries might get postponed or cancelled. Supplies are conserved, so providers make different decisions regarding who might receive a particular therapy and change their admission and discharge procedures. A person who would normally be admitted could instead be sent home, while someone already hospitalized might be sent home sooner. Patients may be transferred between hospitals in the same city, or even to another city via the ADHS Surge Line.

Arizona hospitals are currently operating under contingency standards of care.

When the demand for healthcare exceeds hospitals’ ability to provide that care, hospitals move into Crisis Standards of Care. This is a protocol adopted when the healthcare system is unable to provide the care that everyone needs because there are simply not enough resources or staff to take care of everyone who needs it. Hospitals are forced to make substantial changes to the way that they provide care. Providers often work outside their normal scope of practice, and supplies may need to be reused or may become completely unavailable. Supplies including medications or oxygen may become unavailable. Crisis Standards of Care also provide a protocol by which providers determine how limited care is to be rationed, and how decisions determining which patients receive treatment and which will not are to be made.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona authorized Crisis Standards of Care for hospitals in early July of 2020. The best ways to help protect our hospitals and help avoid Crisis Standards of Care are continuance of the same steps we are already using to protect ourselves and our families. Wearing a mask, avoiding close contact with others, handwashing, staying home when sick, and getting vaccinated are our best tools for keeping our community safe.

Sources:
Arizona Crisis Standards of Care Plan (PDF) AZDHS, 2020.
ADHS Surge Line ADHS
COVID-19 Addendum: Allocation of Scarce Resources in Acute Care Facilities (PDF) ADHS, 6/12/20.
Arizona Authorizes Crisis Standards of Care Patient Triage Protocol AZ Public Health Association, 07/6/20.

Close Contact

A close contact* for COVID-19 is defined as any of the following exposures to an individual during their infectious period:
  • Individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period**
  • Individual providing care in a household without using recommended infection control precautions.
  • Individual who has had direct physical contact (hugging or kissing)
  • Individual who has shared eating and/or drinking utensils, and 
  • Individuals who has been sneezed on, coughed on, or got respiratory droplets on them.
*Close contact does not include healthcare providers or EMS providers using appropriate PPE and implementing appropriate infection control practices.

**Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5 minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). Because the general public has not received training on proper selection and use of respiratory PPE, such as an N95, the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE. At this time, differential determination of close contact for those using
fabric face coverings is not recommended.

Congregate setting

Any facility where people living in a group setting share living space (including bathroom or kitchen) AND those living there depend on the facility for:
  • Completion of activities of daily living; OR
  • Temporary shelter; OR
  • Medical services.
Congregate settings include, but are not limited to:
  • Long-term care facilities (LTCFs)
  • Hospice
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Shelters with dormitories
  • Jails, prisons, and detention centers (ICE and ORR)
  • Group homes (Division of Developmental Disabilities - DDD, Department of Child Safety -DCS)
  • Temporary shelters for people who are asylum-seeking/unaccompanied children
  • Inpatient physical rehabilitation facilities
  • Inpatient behavioral/addiction rehabilitation
Non-congregate settings include, but are not limited to:
  • Student or faculty housing (e.g., dormitories or residence halls)
  • Apartments
  • Independent living facilities
  • Shelters with apartment-style living arrangements (own bathroom and kitchen)
  • Outpatient behavioral/addiction rehabilitation
  • Multi-generational or multi-family homes

Infectious Period

Is the timeframe an individual can transmit disease to others. For COVID-19, this starts from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the individual discontinues isolation.

Isolation

Separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions

That can be practiced by individuals include the following:
  • Correct and consistent mask use
  • Physical distancing
  • Hand and cough hygiene
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfection
  • Avoiding crowds
  • Ensuring adequate indoor ventilation
  • Self-monitoring for symptoms

Quarantine

Separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. For COVID-19, this means staying home or in a private room with a private bathroom for 14 days after last contact with a person who has COVID-19. However, individuals may be eligible for the acceptable options to shorten quarantine outlined in the "If you had close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case" dropdown option in the Quarantine Section of the Sick/Exposed page

Severe/critical illness

Illness due to COVID-19 that required any intensive care during hospitalization. 

Severely immunocompromised

Means you have:
  • Been taking chemotherapy for cancer recently;
  • HIV and a CD4 t-cell count <200;
  • An immunodeficiency disorder;
  • Been taking high-dose steroids (such as prednisone 20mg/day for >14 days); OR
  • Another condition that a healthcare provider has told them makes them severely immunocompromised.

Symptomatic

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Public health will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
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