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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines

How to Protect Yourself & Others


Older adults and people with certain underlying conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness.


Three Important Ways to Slow the Spread

  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you.

  • Avoid crowds. The more people you contact, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.


Wear a mask over your nose and mouth:

  • Masks help prevent you from getting or spreading the virus.

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.

  • Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are challenging to maintain.

    • Masks should not be placed on young children under age two, anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.

Stay 6 feet away from others:

  • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the sick person and other household members.

  • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.

    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

    • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from other people.

    • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people at higher risk of getting very sick.


Avoid crowds:

  • Being in crowds like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19.

Avoid poorly ventilated spaces

  • Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible. If possible, if indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors.


Wash your hands often:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place or blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • It’s essential to wash:

    • Before eating or preparing food

    • Before touching your face

    • After using the restroom

    • After leaving a public place

    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

    • After handling your mask

    • After changing a diaper

    • After caring for someone sick

    • After touching animals or pets

  • If soap and water are not readily available, 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.


Cover coughs and sneezes:

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.

  • Throw used tissues in the trash.

  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


Clean and disinfect:

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water before disinfection.

  • Then, use a household disinfectant.


Monitor Your Health Daily:

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other signs of COVID-19.

    • It is essential if you are running critical errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be challenging to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.

    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.


Protect Your Health This Flu Season:

Flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will likely spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means that getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more critical than ever.

While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many essential benefits, such as:

  1. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.

  2. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for patients with COVID-19.

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