Exposure and Spread of Virus

Exposure

Did you have direct contact with someone who tested positive?

  • No:  Your risk is very low 
  • Yes:  Are you exhibiting signs and symptoms? 
  • Yes:  Call your primary care provider for guidance 
  • No: Your risk is probably low, but it’s a good idea to: 

1. Remain at home
2. Monitor your health
3. Avoid contact with other people and animals.

I WAS IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO IS GETTING TESTED.  WHAT SHOULD I DO?  

You should self-isolate, monitor your symptoms, and if they progress, call your doctor.  

what happens if someone i know tests positive for COVID-19?

Monitor your symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath). If you are experiencing symptoms, self-isolate, notify members of your household and close contacts within the last 2 days. 

What does “community spread” mean? 

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. if anyone tests positive, the Office of Public Health will notify the person, but will not be doing contact tracing.

I’m supposed to attend or host a party/gathering. Should I keep it or still go?   

We are recommending that all persons refrain from attending large gatherings, this includes birthday parties in homes or at public places. 

What else is restricted? 

Montgomery County leaders are recommending everyone to postpone or cancel any non-essential private and public gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, including conferences and rallies  

Is it okay to go to stores right now?  If so, what precautions should I take to protect myself?

When touching items at the store use your best judgment.  If you feel you should wipe the shopping cart handle with disinfectant, then do so.   

Should I avoid all products coming from China or other countries where COVID-19 cases are widespread?   

No. Coronaviruses generally have poor long-term survivability on surfaces, so there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that have been shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. 

Is it safe to hug and kiss or have interpersonal contact with someone?

If you see someone (even someone you know) do not hug, high five or shake hands. Avoid direct contact with them. Either one of you may have the virus but not be showing symptoms. 


Spread of Virus

What is the source of the virus? 

At this time, there is no confirmed origin to COVID-19 however Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is what occurred with COVID-19 and occurred with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

How is the virus spread? 

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. 

What is community spread? 

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. 

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?  

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). 

Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. 

How long is someone actively sick?

How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis in consultation with doctors, infection prevention and control experts, and public health officials and involves considering specifics of each situation including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and results of laboratory testing for that patient. 

Can someone who has been released from quarantine for COVID-19 spread the illness to others? 

Typically, someone who has been asked to quarantine is monitored for signs and symptoms of a disease to develop. A person who has been released from quarantine is generally not considered a risk for the spreading the virus because they have not developed the illness during the incubation period. 

Is the virus spread through food preparation? Should we stop going out to eat?  

Food isn’t the issue; it’s the close proximity to other diners in the restaurant. Consider ordering take-out or delivery instead. 

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.  

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.  

Can I spread the virus to my pet? 

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. 

Is it safe to hug and kiss or have interpersonal contact with someone? 

If you see someone (even someone you know) do not hug, high five or shake hands. Avoid direct contact with them. Either one of you may have the virus but not be showing symptoms. 

WILL WARM WEATHER STOP THE OUTBREAK OF COVID-19?

It is not yet known if weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing


OTHER IMPORTANT FAQS

Isolation and Quarantine
Prevention and Vaccine
Protection
Symptoms
Testing