COVID-19 is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. The virus is thought to be spread easily and sustainably from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets. Currently identifiable symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, new loss of taste or smell, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. Currently, there is no treatment or vaccine available. To mitigate spread, we must identify possible cases, isolate positive cases, and conduct contact tracing in collaboration with the MSDH.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are some ways the virus is thought to be spread:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land on nearby surfaces or in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
CDC best practices that limit the potential of being exposed to the virus are as follows:
- Wear face coverings.
- Practice social distancing.
- Self-monitor for symptoms.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
These preventive measures form the base upon which the following parameters and protocols are built.