What is COVID-19
- COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new, or “novel” coronavirus that was not identified in humans before December 2019. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Some coronaviruses have caused more severe illness, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
- Most people will recover on their own, but some people can develop more serious complications, such as pneumonia, and require medical care or hospitalization. Older people and people with chronic illnesses are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
- The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person to person and the number of cases detected in Washington, nationally, and in other countries is growing.
- The risk of COVID-19 is not connected to race, ethnicity or nationality.
How Does it Spread
It is most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- in the air by coughing and sneezing,
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands,
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands,
- rarely, fecal contamination with coronavirus present.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, though some spread is possible before people show symptoms.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Other less common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
How Can I Protect Myself And Others
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting and spreading coronavirus:
- Find a COVID-19 vaccine
- Wear a face mask
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water aren't available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Stay six feet away from others.
- Follow recommendations from your local health department: Northeast Tri County Health
For people who are immunocompromised or unable to be vaccinated for COVID-19, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) may provide protection.
More information: What is a pre-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19? (PDF)
Where Can I Get Tested?
- Households are encouraged to test as needed at home. In Washington State you can receive free self tests from the Say Yes COVID test program "Say Yes to the Test"
- Chewelah School District offers free COVID-19 Antigen testing. Contact your students office to inquire.
- Your student will need a signed consent form on file for the school to perform a COVID test. See attachment.