COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus mainly spreads from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.
People who have been exposed to COVID-19 but have not developed symptoms are put under quarantine for 14 days to prevent spreading the virus. Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they have not developed illness during the incubation period.
COVID-19 spreads between people who are within 6 feet from one another through respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. It is also possible they can be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest. Because this is a new disease, there is some reports that it may be possible to spread it before symptoms occur, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Another report states that it is possible to contact COVID-19 by touching an infected surface or object and then touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes, however, this is also not considered the main way it is spread. Also, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies.
There are steps we can take to protect the spread of the virus.
The best way to do this is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Cover all surfaces of your hands. Practice this every time you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. When you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
Stay home if you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Be sure to throw used tissues in the trash. Then immediately wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If this is not an option clean your hands with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them with soap and water before disinfecting them. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Other options include a bleach solution made with 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water or a solution that contains at least 60% alcohol.