How does COVID-19 Spread? (Added 3/5/20)

Person-to-Person Spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects

  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

People who have been in the same location as a person who has been in contact with either a person with the virus or with a confirmed patient directly, are not in immediate danger. They should, however, pay close attention to their personal health. If they feel sick, they are advised to see their medical provider and to stay home, per the general advice for all members of the public. If they have no symptoms, they might choose to live life as usual or to self-quarantine. 


When a Case of COVID-19 is Confirmed
When a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in the county, the County Health department conducts a contact investigation. They interview the patient, interview the people who have been in close contact, and determine the next steps to address the individual’s medical needs and protect public health.