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How COVID-19 Spreads and How to Prevent it

Mar 23 2020
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With coronavirus disease (COVID-19) currently active in the United States, it is important to establish an understanding of how it spreads. It is also important to educate yourself on steps you can take to help prevent this virus from spreading.

How COVID-19 Can Spread

Person-To-Person Spread

COVID-19 spreads from person to person most often. Person-to-person spread can occur:

  • When people are within approximately 6 feet of each other.
  • Through any droplets that exit the nose and mouth during a sneeze or a cough, if these droplets land in the nose or mouth of another person or enter someone’s lungs after being inhaled.

Surface-To-Person Spread

While COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person, it can also spread via contaminated surfaces. In certain cases, the virus can live on surfaces for days. When a healthy person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their face, nose or mouth, they risk infection.

Ways to Prevent COVID-19 From Spreading

Avoiding exposure is the most effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You can limit your contact with the virus using the following tips.

Wash Your Hands

Use soap and water to wash your hands constantly throughout the day. Make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds or more. Avoid touching your face if you have not washed your hands recently. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that consists of at least 60% alcohol.

Put Distance Between Yourself and Others

COVID-19 spreads when people are in close proximity. Therefore, it is important to put distance between yourself and others. It is also important to refrain from contact with others who are sick. If you are sick, stay home unless seeking medical care.

Disinfect Surfaces

Disinfect the surfaces in your home that are most frequently touched. This can include tables, handles, phones, keys, light switches, faucets, keyboards, and counters. It is also important to use water and soap to clean any dirty surfaces before disinfecting them.

Cover Your Mouth and Nose

Use tissues when coughing and sneezing or direct the sneeze or cough into your elbow. Remember to place used tissues in the trash and always wash your hands afterward.

Wear a Mask, If Needed

If you are sick, wear a facemask in situations involving other people and while receiving medical care at a healthcare facility. If you are not sick you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are providing care for someone who is sick.

Stay Informed

Stay informed with the latest information from healthcare providers and public health authorities. They will provide timely advice on steps that you and members of your community should take for protection.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

Call our 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 700-9011 for questions and guidance.


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