coronavirus

Coronavirus
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Unemployment Benefits

With Mayor Bowser adjusting the District of Columbia’s operating status in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), District residents may file for unemployment compensation. More information on how to file available at Recovery

COVID-19 FAQs

What are Coronaviruses?

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). 

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus (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.

What are the symptoms of this disease?

We are still learning more about the symptoms that this virus causes in infected people as the outbreak progresses. Symptoms associated with coronaviruses can vary:

  • Common coronaviruses can cause symptoms similar to a common cold, such as fever, cough, sore throat, and feeling unwell.
  • The symptoms that are currently being seen with the current coronavirus infection are fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath.
  • The coronaviruses SARS and MERS cause more severe symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath that progress to pneumonia, and can be fatal.

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?

Current symptoms have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

How is coronavirus (COVID-19) transmitted, and when will someone get sick if they’re exposed?

  • Currently, it is thought that the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus spreads from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Based on what we know from other coronaviruses, we think that symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after someone was exposed.
  • When person-to-person spread occurred with other coronaviruses, such as MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezed or coughed, similar to other respiratory viruses.

However, there are everyday actions to take to help prevent spread of illnesses like influenza:

  • It is also flu season, so getting the flu vaccine can help prevent illness
  • Wash hands, multiple times a day, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when feeling sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Should I wear a facemask to prevent COVID-19?

The use of a facemask is not recommended for people who do not have any symptoms. Facemasks should only be used if recommended by healthcare professionals. If you are a health worker or taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (e.g. at home), the use of a facemask is very important to protect others from the risk of getting infected.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. We recommend 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, multiple times a day, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 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

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. DC Health recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package or products shipping from China?

Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.

Should I re-consider international travel?

Please review the CDC website for the most updated information on travel health notices and other important information to consider.

How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?

Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop stigma.

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.

What is DC Health’s response to this situation?

DC Health is monitoring the situation closely and participating in national calls with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are making sure the DC healthcare community has the most updated guidance by providing information via Health Notices and sharing how providers can reach the DC Health epidemiology team if there is a concern. While the CDC believes the risk to the American public remains low at this time, DC Health is sharing important prevention strategies with residents like good handwashing and staying home when sick.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19?