coronavirus

Coronavirus
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Coronavirus Testing

Pre-registration for Public Testing

It’s best to get testing through your provider, but if you need to use public testing, you can save time in line by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov/register to create a profile from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

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?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • 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

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as they learn more about COVID-19.

Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.

Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

When should I Seek Emergency Medical Attention?

Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

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 the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Should I wear a facemask to prevent COVID-19?

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 requires that everyone in our community be mindful and vigilant about staying safe.

Wearing a mask or face covering is one tool to protect an individual’s own health and the health of others, but it does not replace social distancing. DC Health guidance relating to masks must be followed: See: Masks and Cloth Face Covering for General Public

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 the 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. 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?