Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Get vaccinated.
Even if you do not have symptoms, stay home as much as you can and practice social distancing if you must go out. That’s because you can be sick with COVID-19 and spread the illness to others as much as 48 hours before you have symptoms.
Vaccines to prevent COVID-19 have been developed and are in phased distribution across the state. For the latest updates on the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Massachusetts, please visit Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Information. Even as more people are vaccinated, prevention measures are still necessary, even if you have been fully vaccinated yourself.
People can spread COVID19 up to 48 hours before they have symptoms. That’s why social distancing is so important— no matter what.
Now that many businesses are open, some schools have in-person learning, and some employees are heading to work outside of their home, here are some tips to keep safe while you’re around others:
- Keep your distance. No matter what, six feet or more is best. Try an “air hug” or wave to greet people. Give people their space.
- Keep it outside. Being outside is best. Even if you are outside in a private setting, wear a mask if you might be closer than 6 feet, and always wear a mask in public settings regardless of distance from others (it’s required!).
- Mask up. Wear a mask anytime you are indoors and around other people. Masks are required to be worn in all spaces open to the public, indoors or outdoors when you can’t maintain social distance.
- Keep it flowing. When you are indoors, have good airflow by opening a window or door. You can use a fan in a window to increase airflow.
- Keep it small. Limit the number of people you are with. This helps to avoid “superspreader” events.
- Keep it short. Limit the amount of time you spend with others; the shorter the better (even if you are outdoors).
- Wash your hands. When you touch things other people touch, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer. Plus, once you take off your mask, you’ll want clean hands.
- Plan ahead. Going out to eat? To the gym? Or planning to have guests? Check out CDC’s guidelines for more recommendations.
- Stay safer at home if you are at high risk of COVID-19 or if you live with someone at high risk of COVID-19.
Even if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, proper social distancing in public settings or with people who are unvaccinated or at higher risk for COVID-19 is still important. Refer to Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals to learn more.
- Reopening and limits on gatherings: Learn about the current phase of Reopening Massachusetts and the latest orders on Limits on Gatherings.
- Travel guidance: Travel-related guidance is included in the COVID-19 Travel Advisory.
- Carpooling guidance: Visit mass.gov/carpoolsafety for information about how to be safe while carpooling.
Stay at home
We are still safer at home while COVID-19 is present in Massachusetts. Safer at home means unvaccinated people over the age of 65 and people who have underlying health conditions – who are at high risk for COVID-19 – should continue to stay home except for essential errands. Read more on www.mass.gov/SaferAtHome
If you have been exposed to possible COVID-19 contact, you should quarantine by self-monitoring at home in case you get sick. Fully vaccinated individuals may be exempt from quarantine, however they should monitor themselves for symptoms and seek medical evaluation and possibly testing if symptoms develop.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be directed to self-isolate by separating yourself from others to keep your germs from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, if you test positive for COVID-19 you need to isolate. The COVID-19 vaccines will not make you test positive on viral tests.
If you have questions about isolation or quarantine, you can call your Local Board of Health or the Department of Public Health’s On-call Epidemiologists at 617-983-6800.
Wear a mask
Governor Baker issued an Order effective April 30,2021 requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in all indoor public places, and outdoor public locations where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Learn more at www.mass.gov/MaskUpMA.
It is critical to emphasize that social distancing measures remain in effect and keeping 6 feet apart from others remains important to preventing the spread of the virus. Vaccinated individuals are not exempt from the Mask Order and must continue to mask in public settings.
Treatment options specific to this novel coronavirus are still being developed and evaluated. Antiviral medications used to treat other types of viruses are being used but their efficacy is not known at this time. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of several antibody treatments for early mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients.
Currently, there are three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in Massachusetts for the prevention of COVID-19 disease: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). It will take time for everyone get the vaccine. We all must work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid groups, and keep your distance, even after you get the vaccine.
For more information on COVID-19 Vaccines and Massachusetts’ ongoing rollout and distribution, Visit mass.gov/CovidVaccine.
- To learn more about vaccine safety, how it was developed, and how it works: Trust the Facts, Get the Vax
- Guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19