COVID is tough, but Pennsylvanians are tougher.
What we can do: It is imperative that everyone takes precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Want to know the basics about coronavirus? Below is important information about what the virus is, how it spreads, what symptoms look like, and how to protect yourself and others.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).
COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Most people who have mild symptoms can recover at home without medical care. If you'd like to get tested for a diagnosis, contact your healthcare provider or schedule an appointment at a publicly accessible testing site.
If you do not want to get tested, it's still important to stay home, isolate and avoid contact with others, rest, and drink fluids. If you feel worse, call your health care provider.
For severe symptoms (including a fever above 100°), call your health care provider. If you don't have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital or urgent care to schedule an appointment.
If it's an emergency, call 911.
Emergency warning signs can include:
Cloth masks protect the wearer and others from COVID-19. Masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors away from home.
Download COVID Alert PA to get notified if you’ve been near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Continue to keep your distance from people who do not live in your household and avoid crowds.
Wash hands frequently, wipe down high-touch surfaces, and don’t touch your face when out in public.
Share important health messaging in the form of downloadable social media graphics, stickers, and more.
Find resources in ASL and translated COVID-19 materials.
We know COVID-19 is complex and information changes as scientists and health care professionals learn more about the virus. Here are the most up-to-date answers to commonly asked questions about COVID-19:
Cases are high right now. Here’s how you can protect yourself and others:
In Pennsylvania, masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
When indoors, masks are required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household.
This applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.
Members of the public should wear homemade cloth or fabric masks and save surgical masks and N95 respirators for health care workers and first responders.
Want to know more? See frequently asked questions.
Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure and can include:
Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Priorities for testing in Pennsylvania include:
TIER 1 Hospitalized individuals with COVID-19 symptoms
People who are asymptomatic and fall into one of the following categories (contingent upon the disease prevalence rate in their community):
Get more testing information and a map of testing locations.
You need to get tested, regardless of the presence of symptoms.
Close contacts are people who have been within 6 feet of a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes.
You will need to quarantine for 10 days after your last exposure to an infected person or a seven-day quarantine with a negative test on or after Day 5 of quarantine.
Find a testing site in Pennsylvania.
Here’s what to do while you await your results.
If you have symptoms, self-isolate in your home until each of the following conditions are met:
If you do not develop symptoms, self-isolate in your home until it has been at least 10 days since the day your test specimen was collected.
Monitor your symptoms. If they get worse, contact your physician or a nearby urgent care center.
Notify your close contacts and let them know they will need to quarantine at home. This includes your family members. Close contacts should monitor their health for any symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure.
Keep a phone nearby so that you can answer the call and participate fully in your confidential case investigation for contact tracing.
If you develop emergency symptoms (trouble breathing, chest pain, bluish lips, new confusion) seek immediate care by calling 911. More post-testing guidance.
Right now we are in Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout. The following Pennsylvanians are eligible:
Check your eligibility status and get more information:
Check for a location near you that has vaccine supply and connect with your provider of choice to set up an appointment or get on a wait list.
Please be aware that there may not be any vaccine available in your area. Supplies are extremely limited right now and are provided to Pennsylvania by the federal government.
Have your first vaccine appointment scheduled? Here’s how to prepare.
Use the COVID-19 Complaint Form to document your public health concern. You may report anonymously.
Pennsylvania has in place several resources for those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic — including Unemployment Compensation, financial assistance, food help, mental health tools, and more.
Find a curated list of resources here.
View a list of frequently asked questions about unemployment here.
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
If you must travel, take precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID. Read travel guidance from the CDC.
As of March 1, 2021, the travel order requiring testing and quarantine is no longer in effect. Travelers should still practice appropriate public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 such as masking, physical distancing and hand hygiene.
Pennsylvania is stepping up enforcement on out-of-state travel, mask-wearing, business safety, restaurant mitigation, gathering limits, and more.
Learn more about enforcement.
It’s normal to feel anxiety around the COVID pandemic, but if you feel like these feelings are interfering with everyday life, it might be time to seek out help.
Here is a comprehensive guide full of mental health resources for Pennsylvanians.
Report price gouging to the Attorney General via the price gouging complaint form.
Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) for assistance if you have other questions or concerns.
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