What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness first identified in 2019. There are many coronaviruses, all of which typically cause respiratory disease in humans. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic due to the number of countries affected by its rapid spread.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include muscle aches/pains, fatigue, and decrease in appetite. According to CDC, headache, confusion, rhinorrhea, sore throat, hemoptysis, vomiting, and diarrhea have also been reported, but are less common. Preliminary information suggests older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems are at higher risk.

Guidance for COVID Positive Individuals

If you are COVID-19 positive, you must isolate. Isolation keeps someone who is infected with COVID-19 away from others. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status must isolate. Isolate for 5 days (where day 0 is the day symptoms started, or day you test positive if asymptomatic, whichever came first).

If you have remained symptom-free or if symptoms are resolving, and you feel you are well enough to go to school, you can end isolation after 5 days. (Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and should not delay the end of isolation).

If you continue to have fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of isolation, you should wait to end your isolation until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home, school and in public for 5 additional days (day 6 through day 10) after the end of your 5-day isolation period.


The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:

  • Wear a mask when you cannot social distance (stay six feet apart).
  • 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.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.