COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, like the common cold. But it can be more severe in older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
The virus is most likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing and from contact with surfaces where those droplets have landed.
Since this virus is new, health authorities continue to carefully watch how this virus spreads.
In anticipation of the approval of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Health is working with many other state, federal, and local agencies to plan for the fast and equitable distribution of a vaccine to all New Jersey communities.
It is the goal of the Department of Health to make safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination available to all who live, work, and/or are educated in New Jersey.
This page and the resources available here will continue to evolve as that effort moves forward.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
How can I prevent myself from getting the virus?
COVID-19 spreads when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. Small droplets drift in the air and are breathed in, or larger droplets land on the body or objects, allowing SARS-CoV-2 to enter the body when one touches them and then touches their face around their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Spread can be prevented by the combination of keeping your distance (six feet or more) from people, wearing cloth face coverings, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, ventilating homes and buildings, and practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands.
Everyone should wear face coverings because around 40 percent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not show symptoms, so it's not clear who is or is not infected and capable of spreading COVID-19 at any one time.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
It’s especially important to wash:
Before eating or preparing food
Before touching your face
After using the restroom
After leaving a public place
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After handling your mask
After changing a diaper
After caring for someone sick
KNOW HOW IT SPREADS
COVID-19 spreads easily from person to
person, mainly by the following routes:
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings or talks.
Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
People who are infected but do not have
symptoms can also spread the virus to others.
AVOID CLOSE CONTACT
Inside your home:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
Outside your home:
Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
Stay at least 6 feet from other people.
Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
WEAR A MASK
You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.
CLEAN AND DISINFECT
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
MONITOR YOUR HEALTH
Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.