How do I prevent and prepare for COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus (and avoid exposing other people). Here’s how:

 

Practice social distancing

If you are around other people, keep 6 feet between you when possible. Avoid hugs, handshakes, large gatherings and close quarters. 

Why? The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth, which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the coronavirus if the person coughing has the disease.

 

Wear a cloth face cover in public

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others and out in public, such as the grocery store.

Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker. Don’t place a cloth face cover on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or any who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Why? You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

 

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. 

 

Cover coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.

Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

 

Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, first clean with detergent or soap and water, and then disinfect. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants, diluted household bleach solutions, and alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol will work. See how to make a bleach solution if disinfectants are not available.

 

See more information about preparing for COVID-19 and protecting yourself, your family and your home.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment can change daily. For the latest national situation report please visit the CDC’s website. For current information concerning Florida visit the Florida Department of Health website.

The Florida Department of Health is working with private and public partners to actively be involved in enhanced surveillance for respiratory illness that may be COVID-19. Florida Department of Health Epidemiologists are partnering with providers to follow up on any suspected cases that meet criteria for COVID-19 to arrange for testing when needed and monitor contacts of any confirmed cases, if they occur.

The Florida Department of Health is communicating regularly with the public and health care providers with updates on COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.

This virus most likely originally emerged from an animal source and now appears to be spreading from person-to-person. Currently, COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. The Florida Department of Health and CDC recommend that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus (and avoid exposing other people).  Here’s how:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Wear a cloth face cover in public
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect “high-tough” surfaces

See more about preventing and preparing for COVID-19

Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19.

The length of time that the virus survives likely depends on factors. These factors could include the type of material or body fluid containing the virus and various environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions are designing standardized experiments to measure how long COVID-19 can survive in situations that simulate natural environmental conditions.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list of disinfectant products can be found at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have any evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from areas with widespread community transmission pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
The CDC, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) play distinct but complementary roles in regulating the importation of live animals and animal products into the United States.

Domestic Travel: The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America Again plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.

International Travel: The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial travel options remain available, U.S. citizens should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite length of time. For more information, visit the Department of State website.

For more detailed information: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/travelers/

According to Executive order 20-112 starting May 4, all persons in Florida should avoid congregating in large groups. Groups of greater than 10 are not permitted to congregate in any public space that does not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.

Per the Safe. Smart. Step-by Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery all individuals should continue to maximize physical distance from others in public, particularly in enclosed environments. Individuals should avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing of at least 6 feet.

The decision concerning a specific event or location is made by local authorities, please review your local government website or contact your local government for local information.