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CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19:  For more information and St. Luke's status Updates CLICK HERE

New Patients: 218.249.4000

How COVID-19 Spreads and Precautions to Take

How COVID-19 Spreads

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses like the common cold. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus respiratory infection that has the potential to cause serious illness.

COVID-19 is typically spread through close contact and in small droplets created by coughing and sneezing, which can be inhaled or come in contact with the eye. Handwashing, avoiding close contact (i.e. not shaking hands), and cleaning of surfaces can go a long way in helping to prevent the spread of infection.

Practicing good hand hygiene is one of the best defenses against COVID-19. Dr. Jonathan Shultz with St. Luke's Emergency Department gives some helpful tips on how and when to wash your hands.

Read more about How COVID-19 spreads here.

Precautions for everyone to take

  • Wash your hands if you have been in a public place, and before touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. If soap and water is not available, then use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay home when you have symptoms of COVID-19 if you do not require hospitalization.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Limit close contact with others as much as possible (about 6 feet).
  • Stay away from others who are sick.
  • Stay home from work, school, public areas and gatherings of people if you are sick.
  • The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Masks should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. More information about CDC recommendations can be found on their website. Also, view the do's and don'ts for face covering.