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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.  For more information on how to make and wear cloth masks, click here.

If you are feeling sick, CDC launched a "Self Checker" on their website that allows users to answer a few questions about symptoms & then offers advice about next steps. Click here to access the "Self Checker."

Download a CDC fact sheet here. CDC considers the coronavirus to be a serious public health threat.  The majority of coronavirus cases are mild, with symptoms similar to the common cold.  Should you begin to feel unwell, call your primary care provider right away.

In general, please follow the commonsense measures and guidance from the CDC, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Allegheny County Health Department to protect yourself and your family.  It is important that you are also aware of the disease and the efforts necessary to prevent its spread.

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.  Symptoms may appear 2014 days after exposure and can include:

  • Fever;
  • Cough;
  • Shortness of breath.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.  There are simple everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home except to get medical care; 
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor;
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoid sharing personal household items;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Travel Warnings  
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea.  CDC also advises that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions consider postponing nonessential travel to Iran, Italy, and Japan.  Travelers should practice usual precautions when traveling to Hong Kong.  If you plan to travel internationally, I encourage you to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive important messages, alerts, updates, and travel advisories while you are there.


Experts have been working hard to understand this new strain of coronavirus.  Because new information is coming out every day, please visit the sites below to stay up to date:

The Centers for Disease Control provide updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health provides updates on the disease's spread within the state, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) provides a resource page for all health department links on COVID-19.  Allegheny County also recommends residents sign up for Allegheny Alerts at and to subscribe for COVID-19 alerts under the categories of Health Department/Health & Environment.  ACHD provides a daily update at 11 a.m. via Allegheny Alerts and additional notifications as information becomes available.

ACHD has partnered with United Way 2-1-1 to offer a 24/7 hotline to address questions and concerns about COVID-19.  Please call 888-856-2774 to speak with a representative. Language services are available.

The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to travel outside of the United States.

VA's Public Health website for Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a single source of general information from VA on latest significant events and updates related to COVID-19.