Frequently Asked Questions
Updated December 3, 2020
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
You are considered potentially exposed to COVID-19 if you have been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19.
Close contact is defined as within 6 feet of the person for a total of at least 15 minutes.
If you are symptomatic, get tested.
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle soreness
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
You should isolate in your home until your symptoms are improving and the following has passed:
- 10 days after you first felt ill AND
- 24 hours after you no longer have a fever without the aid of fever-reducing medications
Yes, people who have COVID but no symptoms can still spread the virus to others.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The virus is known to survive on surfaces for hours or days. It has been detected up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 2 or 3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. Note that products are listed by their EPA Registration Number, not their brand name. EPA Registration Numbers must be printed on the product (usually in the fine print) and are two or three numbers separated by a hyphen, like 12345-12 or 12345-12-2567. Be sure to follow all label directions and precautions when using the product.