COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel, or new, coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
- Touching an object or a surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
- Rarely, fecal contamination.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus:
- Stay home unless you need to seek medical care.
- Avoid public areas and public transportation
- Stay away from others as much as possible, especially people who are the most at risk such as older adults with multiple medical problems and those with a weakened immune system
- Don’t shake hands
- Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening such as difficulty breathing and call your doctor or healthcare facility before you seek care.
More information may be found at the ISDH website.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms to protect others from the risk of infection.