Protect yourself and others

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread by droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you similar to how flu and other respiratory infections spread. One way for you to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by practicing social distancing. This means increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. This is why it is recommended to avoid groups greater than 10 and staying at least six feet away from other people.

These simple actions will lessen your chances of catching COVID-19 and spreading it to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

In addition, CDC and Ready.gov have additional tips for individuals, families, and households

How can I help the community during this time?
The most important thing EVERYONE can do is to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. That means washing hands frequently; staying home when sick, postponing or canceling gatherings of 10 or more; and putting space between yourself and others when in public.

Arizona food banks and pantries are in desperate need of volunteers and donations. For more information go to: https://unitedfoodbank.org/ and https://www.firstfoodbank.org/ 

Blood banks are critically low. Healthy individuals are encouraged to donate. More info: https://www.vitalant.org/Home.aspx 

Am I at risk for COVID-19 infection?

  • All 50 states have reported cases, including imported cases from travelers, cases among close contacts of a known case, or those that are community-acquired (where the source of infection is unknown).  
  • Since this a new virus with no vaccine, EVERYONE is at risk for being infected with COVID-19. Adults over 65 and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
  • It’s estimated nearly 1 in 5 people are "asymptomatic transmitters" of COVID-19. That means you could be infected with COVID-19 before showing any symptoms and infecting others without even knowing it. Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, everyone must do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

Should everyone be tested for COVID-19? 

  • Limited testing is currently available for COVID-19 and is being prioritized for individuals who have been identified as high-risk for COVID-19 exposure and are showing symptoms of illness. Commercial testing is coming online and more options will soon be available for public access to testing.
  • During this time with limited testing, those experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough and achiness should stay home, drink fluids, rest, and avoid others when experiencing symptoms. The vast majority of people do very well recovering at home. Getting a COVID-19 test does not change the treatment or the outcome. 
  • People at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.
  • If your symptoms worsen, especially if you experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

What if I am experiencing flu-like symptoms and am worried I might have COVID-19?

  • If you recently returned from travel to an area with known spread of COVID-19, are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or think you were exposed to COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should contact a healthcare provider.
    • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms and any recent travel. This will help them prepare for your arrival so that they can take steps to reduce symptom exposure to themselves and other patients.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask BEFORE you enter the healthcare facility for medical evaluation.
    • The healthcare provider will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.
    • When experiencing symptoms, you should:
      • Avoid contact with others while sick.
      • Avoid travel
      • Stay home from work or other activities
      • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
      • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

What do I do if I don’t have insurance?

If you are experiencing such symptoms as shortness of breath and you need to see a healthcare provider, you should do so. If you do not have a medical home or are uninsured, consider visiting a community health center. They will work with you to help you get access to a healthcare provider. Please make sure you call ahead and let them know your symptoms, so you are not putting anyone at risk. You should also cover your mouth and nose when out in public. Please call 602-253-0090 or look at the AACHC website for a health care center near you.

Additional information:

COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses

COVID-19 Guidance for Schools

Medical Absence Statement for employees, students and daycare attendees (PDF) [Template communication for use by child care providers, employers, and schools]