What it is
COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus.
Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.
Symptoms may be very mild or more serious.
Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.
- Difficulty breathing
Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands
These viruses are not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.
The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- when coughing or sneezing:
- cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues to reduce the spread of germs
- immediately dispose of any tissues you have used into the garbage as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys, electronic devices and doorknobs
- stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others
If you have symptoms
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough, or difficulty breathing:
- stay home to avoid spreading it to others
- if you live with others, stay in a separate room or keep a 2-metre distance
- call ahead before you visit a health care professional or call your local public health authority
- tell them your symptoms and follow their instructions
- if you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and tell them your symptoms