Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population
For most current information regarding COVID and other variants, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s1227-isolation-quarantine-guidance.html.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus discovered in 2019. The virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Some people who are infected may not have symptoms. For people who have symptoms, illness can range from mild to severe. Adults 65 years and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness. People ages 5 years and older should get COVID-19 vaccines to prevent getting and spreading the illness. Everyone ages 16 and older can get a booster shot.
- The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after someone is exposed to the virus and can include fever, chills, and cough.
- Some people who are infected may not have symptoms, which is why everyone should take everyday preventive actions.
- Anyone can have severe illness from COVID-19, especially older adults and people of any age with underlying conditions.
- Learn more about variants of the virus that causes COVID-19
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are ages 5 or older. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free!
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people outside your home. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms length) from others.
- Wear a mask in public, even if you don’t feel sick. It will help protect others in case you are infected.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- Stay home if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath.
- Seek emergency medical care if you develop severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, chest pain, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone.
Ebola: Should we be worried?
How Much Should We Worry about an Ebola Outbreak in the US?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the spread of Ebola in the affected African countries is due to a lack of medical professionals, treatment facilities, and supplies. In addition, not enough people in these countries understand how the disease is spread and how to keep it from spreading to others.
The CDC is trying to make sure that people who appear sick do not get on a plane to come to the US. They are also screening people arriving from countries known to have Ebola. Finally, even if someone does develop Ebola after returning to the US, our public health system has a strong ability to track people and their contacts. Our health care system has plenty of supplies, medicines, doctors, and nurses with the know-how to treat and stop it from spreading.
All of this means that an Ebola epidemic in the US is very unlikely. It is important to remember that we are all more likely to be affected or die from flu—36,000 people die from flu every year in the US. Flu shots are now available, and we all need to get our flu shots soon. Washing our hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub; avoiding touching our eyes, nose, or mouth; covering our coughs with tissue or sneezing into our elbow instead of our hands; staying away from sick people; and staying away from others when we are sick also reduces the spread of all infectious diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control will continue to post up-dates at www.cdc.gov .