About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused severe illness, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middles East Respiratory Syndrome). COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus not previously identified in humans prior to December 2019.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever

  • Coughing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chills

  • Muscle ache or body ache

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

How does the virus spread?

Most often, the virus is spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets. These droplets are produced when a person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu is spread. The droplets may land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, or the droplets can be inhaled directly into the lungs.

It is currently unclear if COVID-19 can be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it then touching their own nose, mouth, or eyes.

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 Steps you can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Wear a cloth face covering in public spaces.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available use hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.

  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Please visit our Travel and Illness page for more information.

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Please refer to CMS and CDC guidance for the most up-to-date information.

Please refer to CDC guidance regarding homeless shelter preparations.

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