COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new virus called SARS-CoV-2. The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, persistent cough, and shortness of breath. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild disease but some people will get sicker and may need to be hospitalized.
How do I know if I was exposed?
- You generally need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected. Close contact 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 about 10 minutes, OR
- Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).
- If you have not been in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19, you are at low risk for infection. You can continue to go to work and school, but should monitor your health for 14 days since the contact and stay away from others if you get sick.
What should I do if I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 while they were ill but I am not sick?
- You should monitor your health for fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19.
- You should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 14 days.
What should I do if I was in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and get sick?
- If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you may have COVID-19.
- You should isolate yourself at home and away from other people.
- 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 physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. 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. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person or tested.
- There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19.
- If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.
More guidance from the Southern Nevada Health District
The Southern Nevada Health District is reminding the public that flu and other respiratory illnesses are circulating in Clark County. It is understandable that people who are sick may want to be tested for COVID-19. However, not everyone who feels ill needs to be tested. Health care providers or the Health District determine who should be tested based on an individual’s specific symptoms and circumstances. People who have mild symptoms such as a cough or fever should stay home and away from other people.
The Health District is working with its health care and community partners to ensure there are strong public health measures in place to respond to COVID-19 in the community. Updates about COVID-19 are also available by calling the Health District’s Information Line at 702-759-INFO (4636) or 1-866-767-5038.
The public can help the response:
- Do not go to the emergency department unless it is essential. Emergency departments need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
- If you have a mild cough, fever, or other respiratory symptoms, contact your doctor first.
- Practice everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- 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.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.