COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild cold-like symptoms to severe illness that requires hospitalization. It can take anywhere from 2–14 days after exposure to the virus for symptoms to appear. Common symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Loss of sense of smell or taste
Runny nose or congestion
In addition to the common symptoms listed above, people with COVID-19 may experience more severe symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms please seek emergency medical care right away:
- Trouble breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Persistent chest pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Loss of consciousness or inability to stay awake
COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person, especially during close contact. Follow these steps to protect yourself and others:
- Wear a face covering
- Clean your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Soap and water are preferred if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Practice social distancing
Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. Avoid going to crowded places or gathering indoors.
- Avoid sharing personal household items
Don’t share dishes, utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the instructions on the label. Bathroom and toilet surfaces should be cleaned daily with a household cleaner and then with a bleach disinfectant. The CDC provides recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Social distancing refers to measures that are taken to increase the physical space between people to slow the spread of the virus. Examples include working from home, avoiding large events and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others.
When you can’t maintain more than 6 feet between people, make sure you use other protective measures including wearing a face covering, avoiding touching your face and washing your hands often.69961
Close contact is defined by the CDC as being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a total of 15 minutes or more while they are infectious. It also means having direct contact with secretions from a person with COVID-19 disease (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on).
Close contact with an infected person poses the highest risk of disease spread. That includes:
- Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19
- Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
- Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time
- Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)
It is important to note that many people are exposed without knowing it. That is why it’s important to take precautions whenever you are around people outside your household.69961
If you get sick with cold-like symptoms, fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you may have COVID-19. You should stay home and away from other people, and consider getting tested. If you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection — age 60 years or older, are pregnant, or have medical conditions — contact your healthcare provider and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and describe your symptoms. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.
If you do not have a high-risk condition but want medical advice, call your healthcare provider and tell them you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and describe your symptoms. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person. There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify them that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a face covering.69961
You should monitor your health and stay home at the first sign of illness. Symptoms of COVID-19 can be similar to the common cold with sore throat and cough. Fever is not always present. Shortness of breath can mean more serious illness. Monitor your symptoms for 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19, and consider getting tested if available at 5–7 days after your last exposure.69961
If someone in your household becomes sick with cold-like symptoms, cough or fever, it is possible they have COVID-19. They should contact their healthcare provider for medical advice, especially if they are over the age of 60, pregnant, or have chronic medical conditions. If they can stay home to recover, they should follow these precautions:
- Wear a face covering
You should wear a face covering when you are around other people, pets and before entering a healthcare provider’s office. If you are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, then people who live with you should not be in the same room with you and they should wear a face covering when near you.
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Avoid going to work and public areas.
- Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
- If you have a medical appointment, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you may have COVID-19. This will help the provider’s office take steps to prevent exposure of other people.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- You should stay in your own room and away from other people in your home as much as possible. Use a separate bathroom, if available. Increase airflow in shared spaces like the kitchen or bathroom by opening windows. If you need help, have just one person who is healthy provide care.
- You should avoid contact with pets and other animals while sick. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals. If you must care for your pet, wash your hands before and after you interact with them and wear a face covering.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Monitor your symptoms
- Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen or you experience difficulty breathing. Tell your healthcare provider that you may have COVID-19. If you need to be seen in person, follow their instructions on how to enter a facility without exposing others and wear a face covering.
- If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify them that you may have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face covering before emergency medical services arrive.
We are not permitted to release any information about specific COVID-19 case locations due to patient privacy laws. The risk of COVID-19 is widespread across the community, so the best way you can stay safe is to follow the public health guidelines.69961
If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and experience symptoms, you should stay home and monitor yourself for symptoms. Guidelines for when it is safe to leave home will differ depending on if you need to quarantine or isolate.
Even after your symptoms have improved you must continue to follow Oregon’s Stay Home executive order.69961
Quarantine is intended to keep someone who may have been infected away from other people. The CDC provides specific quarantine guidelines.
Isolation is meant to keep those with a known infection away from other people, including those in their household. The CDC provides specific isolation guidelines.69961
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
The CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can also be used as a face covering. Masks should include two or more washable, breathable layers.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:
- Children under age 2
- Anyone who has trouble breathing
- Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
Clackamas County is following federal distribution protocols by prioritizing front line medical personnel for surgical and N95 masks. Those supplies are urgently needed. Donate PPE online.69961