What should I do if there is a COVID 19 outbreak in my area?

The best thing you can do to stay healthy is to wash your hands often, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home as much as possible (but especially if you are sick).

In addition, to help slow the spread of disease, it is important to follow any official instructions in your area about limiting contact with other people. Even if there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 where you live, that could change in the future.

When a lot of cases of COVID-19 spread through one area, experts call this "community transmission." When this happens, schools or businesses in the area will close temporarily, and many events will be cancelled.

City and state leaders will also tell people to stay at home and continue "social distancing" for some time. There are things you can do to prepare for this. For example, you might be able to work from home. You can also make sure you have a way to get in touch with relatives, neighbours, and others in your area. This way you will be able to receive and share information easily.

Rules and guidelines might be different in different areas. If officials tell people in your area to stay home or avoid gathering with other people, it's important to take this seriously and follow instructions as best you can. Even if you do not get very sick from COVID-19, you could still pass it along to others who could get very sick. Keeping people away from each other is one of the best ways to control the spread of the virus.

If you think you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, but you don't have any symptoms, you should "self-quarantine" at home for at least 14 days. This means not leaving your house at all, and staying least 6 feet away from other people in your home. If you develop a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, go for check up immediately.