Coronaviruses are a type of virus. There are many different kinds and some cause disease. A newly discovered coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans and has caused a worldwide pandemic of respiratory illness is called COVID-19.


How Covid-19 Spreads

Avoid Exposure

People at Risk

COVID-19 is spread mainly through close contact from person to person (within 6 feet). People produce respiratory droplets when they cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe.  COVID-19 infection occurs through the exposure to these respiratory droplets that contain COVID-19 viruses. There is evidence that people can infect others who were more than 6 ft away.  This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and occurs within enclosed spaces that have inadequate ventilation. It is possible for people to contact COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that the virus has landed on and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth

  • Stay 6 feet apart from others

  • Avoid Crowds and poorly ventilated spaces

  • Wash your hands or use gel sanitizer often

  • Stay home and isolate when you are sick

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine

Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill with COVID-19. Severely ill means that a person with COVID-19 may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe.

  • Older Adults -greater than 65 years      

  • Pregnant People - Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant women.         

  • People with certain medical conditions - Cancer, Chronic Kidney disease, Chronic lung disease, neurological conditions (Dementia, Stroke), Diabetes, Down syndrome, Heart conditions, HIV, Immunocompromised (weak immune system), Liver disease, Obesity, Sickle Cell, Smoker, substance use disorders. 

  • People who need extra Precautions- rural communities, homelessness, disabled people


COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose                       

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 

Seek immediate medical advice

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Image by United Nations COVID-19 Respons

Testing for Covid-19

Types of tests for Covid-19

Who should get tested for a current infection?

  • People with COVID-19 symptoms

  • People with COVID-19 symptoms who have been vaccinated or had a prior COVID infection

  • People who have had close contact (within 6ft for 15 min or more over 24 hours) with a confirmed person with COVID-19 

  • People who have taken part in activities that put them at risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance themselves, such as travel, large social gathering or crowded poorly ventilated indoor setting

Covid 19 tests are available to determine a current infection or past infection. Two types of viral tests can be used: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests


  • Detect genetic material (nucleic acid)

  • Identify the RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences that comprises the nucleic acid of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends collecting specimen from nasopharyngeal, nasal mid turbinate or anterior nares

  • Most sensitive test for current infection “gold standard”

Antigen Test

  • Immunoassay test that detects and measures specific viral antigens (COVID-19, influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus)

  • Inexpensive and used at the point of care with return results in approximately 15 minutes

Taking Samples

Types of tests for PAST Covid-19

Antibody or Serology Test

  • Detect COVID-19 antibodies in your blood to determine if you had a past infection. The body’s immune system creates antibodies after you have a COVID-19 infection or have had the vaccine. 

  • It can take 1-3 weeks after the COVID-19 infection for your body to make antibodies

  • Antibody tests are not used to diagnose a current infection

Whether your test positive or negative for COVID-19 on a viral or an antibody test, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others.


Covid-19 Vaccination

Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Covid 19 vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe disease.

  • Vaccines that are in development are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials

  • Experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill if you do get COVID-19

  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you

  • Experts continue to conduct studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the COVID-19 virus.

  • People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic

  • Authorized and Recommended Vaccines in the United States:

    • Pfizer-BioNTech

    • Moderna

    • Johnson & Johnson

The combination of getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19

Please reference the CDC website for up-to-date information regarding Covid-19.