Infectious disease experts say most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, like the common cold. But it can be more severe in older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
Most of the early reported cases had contact with a seafood and live animal market, suggesting an animal source of the outbreak. However, most cases are now likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing. Since this virus is very new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.
There are simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family.
Monitor Your Symptoms. Common symptoms are fever and cough.
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 all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
- 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.
For people who are sick:
- Stay home.
- If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.
- Keep sick household members away from others. If you have a separate room that is best.
- Use soap and water, a bleach and water solution, or EPA-approved household products. You can make your own cleanser with a mixture of 1 cup of liquid unscented chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of water.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their healthcare provider for more information.
Cloth Face Coverings Guidance
Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low-cost, can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure, beyond the recommended social distancing.
If you choose to wear 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. o 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.
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.
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.
- Manage your information flow by choosing reliable sources and establish boundaries on checking for updates.
- Help your school-aged child and adolescent set boundaries on their information flow in the same way you are setting your own boundaries.
- Assure your child that it is okay to feel scared or anxious.
- Practice good self-care by exercising, eating healthy foods, practicing mindfulness, sleeping enough at night and going outside when permittable.
- Seek peer support to stay connected so you have people who understand your experiences and can help you problem solve.
- Facilitate ways for you, your family members and friends to maintain social connections. This might include technological assistance or coordinating times with others to physically check in on vulnerable individuals.
- 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
1- 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Got5 to 741741.
Enjoy the Outdoors Safely
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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