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 COVID-19 up to 48 hours before they have symptoms. Unvaccinated individuals, and others at higher risk from COVID-19, can help protect themselves by practicing social distancing.
Now that businesses are open, schools have in-person learning, and many employees are heading to work outside of their home, here are some tips to keep safe while you’re around others:
- Keep your distance. For unvaccinated individuals, and others at higher risk from COVID-19, six feet or more is best. Try an “air hug” or wave to greet people. Give people their space.
- Keep it outside. Good air flow can help reduce the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets.
- Mask up. All unvaccinated residents, and others at higher risk from COVID-19, are recommended to continue to wear face-coverings in indoor settings and when they can’t socially distance. Masks will continue to be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals at all times in certain locations that include public transportation and medical facilities.
- 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.
- You can be safer at home if you are at high risk of COVID-19 (including if you are unvaccinated) 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.
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.
Isolation and quarantine
Isolate if you're sick, quarantine if you have been exposed. Learn more:
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.
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.
Effective May 29th, Commonwealth’s mask order has been rescinded. All unvaccinated individuals, and others at higher risk from COVID-19, are advised to continue to wear masks in indoor settings and when they can’t socially distance. Masks will continue to be required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals at all times in certain locations that include public transportation and medical facilities. Learn more at www.mass.gov/MaskUpMA.
Vaccinated individuals are not exempt from face-covering requirements in designated facilities outlined in the May 29th advisory.
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