COVID-19 is a respiratory disease which has now spread to the United States.
It is mild for most people, but can cause severe illness and result in death for some. Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, have the greatest risk of becoming severely ill.
There is no vaccine and no medications approved to treat COVID-19 at this time.
How it spreads
COVID-19 spreads from person to person, mainly through coughs and sneezes of infected people or between people who are in close contact.
How we're responding
We activated our Emergency Operations Center in January to coordinate response and prepare for a potential outbreak. Our Public Health staff have been and continue to work closely with regional, state, and federal officials to protect our community as we respond to this developing situation.
This is a new disease, and scientists are learning more about it daily. Recommendations may change rapidly. Stay up to date with City messages by signing up for our community news email list.
Protect yourself and others
The most important thing you can do is to practice everyday healthy behaviors that prevent the spread of germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Don't touch your face with unwashed hands.
- Use alcohol based hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available. Look for one with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
These actions don't just protect you. They help keep our whole community safe, especially our most vulnerable residents, by slowing the spread of the disease.
The CDC website has additional information about how to get your household ready for a potential outbreak.
Several countries are experiencing rapid community spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to these countries. If you have trips planned, check the latest CDC travel guidelines.
When you're sick, stay home
Don't spread infections to others. When you're sick with any respiratory illness:
- Stay home. Don't go to school or work.
- Minimize contact with others in your household.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough into your elbow rather than your hand.
- Wash or sanitize hands immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs, phones, and faucets.
If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, call ahead before visiting a medical facility so they can prepare. Do not go to an emergency room with mild symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- shortness of breath
Call your doctor right away if you experience these symptoms and have:
- been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or
- recently traveled from an area with ongoing community spread
CDC has a factsheet with more information about what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.
Click here for general resources on COVID (bottom of the page)
Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8