How can I help protect myself?
Visit the CDC's Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19. As with any respiratory virus, you can protect yourself and others by taking every day preventative actions:
- Know how it spreads; COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
- Avoid close contact with people; especially those who are sick. Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others even if you do not feel sick.
- Monitor your health daily; stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
Stay home if you might have been exposed to COVID-19. Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others and monitor their health for 14 days following last exposure.
What counts as close contact?
- Anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- You had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged or kissed them)
- You shared eating or drinking utensils
- They sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.
Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. When you can be around others (end home isolation) depends on different factors for different situations. Find CDC’s recommendations for your situation.
When to start and end quarantine
CDC recommends individuals should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. See CDC scenarios to determine when you can end quarantine and be around others. Depending on your situation, there are options to reduce quarantine.
Use of Masks and Respirators to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Masking is a critical public health tool for preventing spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask. To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.
Masks and respirators (i.e., specialized filtering masks such as “N95s”) are effective at reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, when worn consistently and correctly. Some masks and respirators offer higher levels of protection than others, and some may be harder to tolerate or wear consistently than others. It is most important to wear a well-fitted mask or respirator correctly that is comfortable for you and that provides good protection.
While all masks and respirators provide some level of protection, properly fitted respirators provide the highest level of protection. Wearing a highly protective mask or respirator may be most important for certain higher risk situations, or by some people at increased risk for severe disease.
CDC’s mask recommendations provide information that people can use to improve how well their masks protect them.
- CDC’s Improve How Your Mask Protects You
- CDC's Types of Masks and Respirators
- What's Your Risk of Infection? Infographic
Agree to the Three Campaign
Understanding that there is some growing fatigue around the public response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has released an advertising campaign focused on reinforcing the three recommended enhanced hygiene practices.
Agree to the Three W’s campaign, encourages Tulsa County residents to continue to: Wear a Mask. Wash Your Hands. Watch Your Distance. There are strong indications that following the Three W’s is effective in slowing the spread of the virus.
While serious in nature, this campaign takes a more light-hearted approach to the situation, reminding residents that, unfortunately, due to the asymptomatic reaction in some people, danger can be hiding in plain sight. Exposure to COVID-19 can happen even in an environment where people feel they are safe.
The Agree to the Three W’s campaign was developed in collaboration with local firms: Signal Factory, Bear Agency Group and Scoutly. THD has partnered with the City of Tulsa and Tulsa County on the prevention campaign, which was made possible through Tulsa County CARES Act funding.