Infectious disease experts say most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, but the disease can be more severe in older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
It spreads easily from person to person by respiratory droplets. COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout the U.S. and in nearly all counties in New York State. After months following the guidance to stay home and prevent the spread of COVID-19, some people have developed “COVID-19 fatigue” and want to get back to normal, especially during the holidays.
Now is not the time to let your guard down.
While promising vaccines have been developed, it will be months before there will be enough vaccine supply for most of the general public.
Until then, there are simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family.
Monitor Your Symptoms. Common symptoms are:
- Fever or chills
- New loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Emergency Warning Signs Include:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
- Experience confusion or trouble waking up
- Bluish lips or face
Call for medical attention immediately.
*This list is not a complete list. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Childhood Inflammatory Disease Related to COVID-19
The State Department of Health is investigating several cases of severe illness in children and child deaths that may be related to COVID-19. Children are experiencing symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome possibly due to COVID-19.
At the Governor’s direction ,The State Department of Health has issued an advisory about this serious inflammatory disease to inform healthcare providers of the condition, as well as to provide guidance for testing and reporting. Health care providers, including hospitals, are required to report to the Department of Health all cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome potentially associated with COVID-19 in those under 21 years of age.
New Yorkers should seek immediate care if a child has:
- Prolonged fever (more than five days)
- Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
- Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
- Change in skin color - becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
- Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
- Racing heart or chest pain
- Decreased amount of frequency in urine
- Lethargy, irritability or confusion
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard it in a closed container.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Keep your circle of contacts small to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
When you are around others, stay 6 feet apart and wear your mask.
For people who are sick:
- Stay home, in isolation. Don’t go to work or school. Get tested. Stay away from others.
- Get tested for COVID-19.
- If you test positive for COVID-19, talk to your health care provider and stay home in isolation. Stay away from others. You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by notifying your close contacts that they have been exposed.
- If your test result is negative, and your health care provider no longer suspects COVID-19, but you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you need to stay in quarantine for 10 days and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Stay home. Stay away from others.
- Keep sick household members away from others, in a separate room, if possible.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their healthcare provider for more information.
COVID-19 in Young Adults
New York State has been monitoring a significant rise in COVID-19 cases among young adults (21 to 30 years-old) in the past several months. Young adults are urged to educate themselves on their risk of COVID-19. They can get seriously sick and can even die from the virus. They can also spread it to others in their homes and communities without even knowing they’re sick.
To deliver the importance of this message, a social and PSA campaign has been launched to communicate the hard facts to young people:
Masks & Face Coverings Guidance
Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low-cost, and should be used as a public health measure, beyond social distancing.
Individuals must procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings and wear them when they are in a public and are:
- within six feet of distance from other individuals; or
- in a situation or setting where they are unable to maintain six feet of distance from other individuals; or
- in a public or private transportation carrier or for-hire vehicle.
When wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community transmission, you should:
- Make sure that they fit snugly and cover their nose and mouth.
- Be changed frequently and laundered when they are soiled or wet.
- Not become complacent with other protective measures.
- Do not touch the cloth covering or face.
- Continue to be vigilant with thorough and frequent hand washing with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer of 60%+ alcohol.
- Practice respiratory etiquette and cover your coughs or sneezes.
- Practice social distancing – even when wearing masks.
- Stay home and help flatten the curve!
While cloth face coverings may not prevent the wearer from becoming infected, they might help slow spread from people who have the virus and are unaware.
Face Coverings in the Workplace
Executive Order 202.16 directs employers to provide essential workers with masks free of charge to wear when interacting with the public.
Businesses Can Deny Entry
Executive Order 202.34 authorizes businesses to deny entry to individuals who do not wear masks or face-coverings.
Public Service Announcement
Governor Cuomo announced "Matilda’s Law" – a guideline – to protect New Yorkers age 70+ and those with compromised immune systems.
Under the law, vulnerable New Yorkers are advised to:
- Remain indoors
- Go outside for solitary exercise
- Pre-screen all visitors by taking their temperature
- Wear a mask in the company of others
- Stay at least 6 feet from others
- Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary
Make a Plan
Create plans for school, work, and home.
- Make a list of people and organizations who can help if you become sick. Consider: family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, healthcare services, and other resources like mental health services.
- Join a neighborhood website or social media page to stay connected to neighbors, information, and resources.
- Plan ways to care for family members at risk for serious complications, such as older people and people with chronic health conditions.
Plan as if it is a Winter Storm
There is no need to buy large quantities of supplies. But it's a good idea to pick up a few extra items each time you go to the market or pharmacy. That way, you're prepared and can avoid crowds.
- Pick up some extra foods like canned goods, dry pasta, and peanut butter.
- Have soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen on hand.
Plan for Changes to Your Daily Schedule
- Make plans to care for your children if schools are closed temporarily. Just like you would for snow days.
- Make plans for alternate after-school care in case they are closed temporarily.
- Ask to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick, or if your child's school is temporarily closed.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
New York State is partnering with Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation, to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers as a mental health resource for residents coping with the unprecedented public health crisis. New Yorkers can access a collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, along with at-home mindful workouts, sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety at www.headspace.com/ny.
Call the COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for mental health counseling.
Get Help Immediately
If you experience significant changes in your energy level, eating patterns, or sleeping patterns, difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, prolonged and overwhelming worry and hopelessness, or thoughts of self-injury or suicide, seek immediate help at
the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1- 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Got5 to 741741.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has led many individuals to feeling afraid, anxious and stressed. Here are some tips to help manage your stress and anxiety levels during this uncertain time.
- Reduce anxiety by reducing risk including practicing good hygiene, and creating a plan in case your regular routine is disrupted.
- Monitor your anxiety levels.
- Practice good self-care by exercising, eating healthy foods, practicing mindfulness, sleeping enough at night and going outside when permittable.
- Virtually reach out to different types of support networks, such as family, friends, colleagues and faith-based communities.
- Find meaningful tasks and roles within your support network to channel your anxiety.
- Find or create spaces that are not focused on COVID-19.
- Savor small positive moments, amplify positive stories, and stay optimistic.
- Take an opportunity to practice mindfulness when managing anxiety. Mindfulness tools like grounding exercises, sensory modulation, and deep breathing may be helpful.
Enjoy Life Safely
Enjoy Takeout Food and Delivery
Ordering takeout food is the right way to social distance.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, garden, ride a bicycle or visit a park are healthy ways to stay active, spend time with your family, and reduce stress and anxiety while engaging in social distancing strategies.
These are some simple ways you can protect you and your family from COVID-19 while enjoying the outdoors.
- Avoid close contact with people, even when outside. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Avoid games and activities that require close contact.
- Avoid frequently touched surfaces and objects. This includes playground equipment like slides and swings.
- Don’t share equipment such as bicycles, helmets, balls or frisbees.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard the tissue in a closed container.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol in these instances:
- When you return indoors,
- before and after eating,
- after using the restroom,
- after coughing or sneezing, and
- after touching surfaces or items that may be contaminated.
If you are sick or had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days:
- You should stay home.
- You may enjoy spending time in your own backyard or other personal outdoor space but should not go into public outdoor spaces.
- Stay connected on your state and local health department's social media pages and websites for timely and accurate COVID-19 information.
- Questions? Call the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
- If you live alone and become sick, you may need to ask for help. If you have a chronic disease and live alone, ask your friends, family, and health care providers to check on you.
- If you decide to attend a public event, practice good health habits.
- Try to keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others at the event.
- Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
- Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs and handrails.
Protect yourself from COVID-19 and stop the spread of germs.
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