The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new, or novel virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus is thought to spread from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It may be spread by people who are infected but not showing any symptoms. Although not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, it may be possible for someone to become infected with COVID-19 if they touch a surface that has the virus on it and then touch their own mouth, nose or eyes.
It is important to know the symptoms of COVID-19 and to monitor your health.
People Who Need to Take Extra Precautions
Some people are at greater risk of severe illness. It is important to understand who may need to take extra precautions.
How to Protect Yourself and Others
There are steps you can take to protect yourself and help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Social Distancing
Social distancing, making sure there is at least six feet between you and those around you, plays an important role in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
- Face Masks/Coverings
Face coverings/masks are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings/masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19, and who may not have symptoms, from spreading the virus. There are different types of face coverings/masks, and they can be purchased or made at home. Face coverings/masks should be worn correctly and removed carefully, and reusable coverings/masks should be cleaned after each use.
- Hand Hygiene
Frequent hand washing with soap and water or use of hand sanitizer, along with not touching your eyes, nose and mouth, can help you protect yourself against COVID-19.
- Monitor your Health
Conduct routine health self-assessments, and if you believe you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as described by the CDC, contact a healthcare provider for advice. The CDC and VDH provide free self-check tools.
Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVIDCHECK
Exposure to COVID-19
The CDC provides guidance for those who have been exposed to someone with known, suspected or possible COVID-19. This guidance includes the definition of exposure and steps that should be taken by anyone who meets this definition.
When to Stay Home and Seek Medical Advice
If you are ill; have symptoms consistent with COVID-19; have recently tested positive for COVID-19; have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting test results; have been exposed to COVID-19; or have recently travelled to an area where there is a high incidence of COVID-19, then you should stay home and seek medical advice.
How to Get Tested for COVID-19
The Virginia Department of Health provides information on the COVID-19 testing sites located within or closest to your zip code.
Virginia Department of Health Coronavirus Helpline
1-877-275-8343 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Air passengers, two years of age or older, arriving in the United States from a foreign country must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before bordering. This order applies to all U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. More information, including frequently asked questions, may be found on the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html.
COVIDWISE, Virginia’s official COVID-19 notification mobile app, is designed to alert users who have likely been exposed to COVID-19 so they can get tested, self-isolate, and reduce the risk of infection for family and friends. To protect user privacy, the app uses the Apple/Google Bluetooth Low Energy framework, which does not rely on personal information or location/GPS tracking information. Use of the app is voluntary, and users may opt in and opt out of the app at any time. The app may be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play Store.
The Virginia Department of Health's website includes important information about the Commonwealth's rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who wish to be vaccinated are encouraged to preregister on the VDH website.
Coping with Stress
Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 and the impact it is having on our lives can be overwhelming and emotional for people of all ages. Understanding this stress, learning stress management techniques, and connecting to community resources can help.
CDC – Coping with Stress
VDH – Coping with Stress
Facts vs Rumors and Reducing Stigma
It is important to understand fact versus rumors when it comes to learning about and reducing stigma associated with the virus.
Additional COVID-19 Resources