COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The COVID-19 is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
Since December 2019, cases have been identified in a growing number of countries. The District’s surveillance data can be found here.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Public health authorities are learning more every day. We will continue to update as we learn more.
Protect yourself from COVID-19
You play an important role in stopping the spread of germs, view resources to share with your family, friends and within your community. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. DC Health recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory disease:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Get the flu vaccine
Symptoms of COVID-19
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
- It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for:
- People who recently traveled from China or another affected area and who have symptoms associated with COVID-19, and
- People who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or pneumonia of unknown cause. (Consult the most recent definition for patients under investigation [PUIs].)
If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.
If you are a resident in a community where person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been detected and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.
For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.
If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity for up to 14 days. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.
Learn more on the CDC website.