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What you need to know about coronavirus or COVID-19

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In the wake of Hawaii’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, residents and visitors are advised to be mindful of how the disease is spread and take precautions to prevent becoming ill.

How coronavirus spreads



>> People who are in close contact, usually within about 6 feet of an infected person.

>> By droplets that enter through the mouth, nose or are inhaled when an infected person nearby coughs or sneezes.

From infected surfaces or objects

>> A person might also get infected by touching their mouth, nose or eyes after touching a surface or object that has the virus on it.

The symptoms of coronavirus

The symptoms

The range can be from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can start showing up from two to 14 days after exposure:

>> Fever

>> Cough

>> Shortness of breath


There is no vaccine for the virus and no specific antiviral treatment. Persons with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help alleviate their symptoms. Tips on how to protect yourself and your family:

About to sneeze

>> Stay away from people who are sick.

>> Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth.

>> Stay home if you are sick.

>> Use a tissue to cover your cough and sneeze and throw it away in a lined trash can.

Wash your hands

>> Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

>> Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.

>> Disinfect and clean surfaces and objects you frequently touch with a household cleaning spray or wipes.

Clean all surfaces


>> If you develop a fever and a cough and are having difficulty breathing, or have been near a person with COVID-19, or you live in or have traveled to an area that has an ongoing spread, you should call your health care professional with your information and they can work with the state Health Department to determine if you need to be tested.

>> If you have mild symptoms you should confine yourself to your home and avoid going to public areas except for seeking medical care. Do not go to work or school.

>> Separate yourself from people by staying in a specific room and also avoid contact with pets, which can become mildly infected.

>> Call ahead before visiting your doctor so they may take steps to keep others from being exposed.

>> Wear a face mask when you are around other people or pets, when sharing a room or a vehicle and before entering your doctor’s office. The people who live with you should not stay in the same room or they should wear a mask if they enter your room.

Cover your sneeze

>> When you cough or sneeze use a tissue to cover up. Throw the tissue in a lined trash can and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if you are not near soap and water.

>> As with prevention, do not touch your face and clean surfaces and objects that you frequently touch.

>> If illness worsens call your health care provider or 911 and let them know you are being evaluated for COVID-19; wear a face mask before you enter the facility.


About the mask

>> Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).


In the event of widespread community transmission, the Hawaii Department of Health urges residents to be prepared:

>> Stock up on all prescription medications and other basic household items like food and cleaning products so you can care for yourself and your family at home if someone becomes ill. Availability of these items may be affected in the event of a pandemic.

>> Plan for the possibility of school closures and canceled events and activities.

>> Consider talking to your employer about your organization’s strategies for preventing the spread of illness in the workplace (e.g., alternative scheduling, telecommuting, videoconferencing).

>> Consider practicing basic social distancing measures like limiting your time spent around large groups and avoiding unnecessary close contact with people (e.g., handshakes, aloha kiss).

>> For more information, call Aloha United Way 2-1-1 or visit the Hawaii Department of Health website at:

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