The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. Symptoms can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.Remember to take every day preventative actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 % alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid toughing your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a mask securely over your nose and mouth to protect yourself and others. Do not put masks on children younger than 2 years old nor on people who have trouble breathing or cannot remove the mask without assistance.
  • Cloth masks should be made with two or three layers of tightly woven breathable fabric, such as cotton, and should not let light pass through them when held up to a light source. Disposable non-medial surgical masks are another option.
  • Stay at least 6 feet(about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you, particularly in crowded areas.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about travel precautions and restrictions.

In 2021, COVID-19 vaccines will become available to the general public. The State of Oklahoma may receive the Ultra-cold Pfizer vaccine and Moderna vaccine and will use the State’s Vaccination Plan to distribute them. Both of these vaccines have been shown in late-stage vaccine trials to be safe and very effective (95% and 94.5% effective).

It is important to continue preventative actions against the spread of COVID-19 even after the COVID-19 vaccine is available in Oklahoma.