What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 is a new respiratory disease caused by a type of virus called Coronavirus. It has existed only since late 2019 - because it is such a new disease, there are no vaccines developed yet to prevent it, and there is still much unknown about the disease. It is very contagious, which is how it has spread so widely in a short window of time. On March 11th, Covid-19 was classified as a global pandemic by The World Health Organization. Soon afterwards, states of emergency were declared for many levels of government from the United States and Minnesota to counties, and cities within Minnesota’s Fifth. These declarations are a way for different levels of government to address Covid-19 without going through lengthy processes, mostly to quickly reallocate funding.

Covid-19 is a serious public health threat, and is spread most commonly by close contact with infected people who are within 6 feet of one another. The virus can also stay alive on surfaces for some time which is why it is especially important to keep your spaces clean.

Who can get Covid-19?

Anyone can get Covid-19, but there are groups of people in our communities who are especially vulnerable to getting the disease and more likely to have severe cases. These groups include the elderly, those with immunodeficiencies, and people who have a history of respiratory illness. Special care should be taken to protect our community members in these groups. It is possible for some people, especially young and healthy people, to have Covid-19 with very mild symptoms or even no symptoms at all. Because of this, we all need to do our part to protect our community as a whole, like following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks in public.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

Covid-19 easily spreads from person to person, with a range of mild to severe symptoms. The three most common symptoms are fever, a dry cough, and, in severe cases, trouble breathing. Other symptoms are a lot like a normal cold or flu, like sore throat, runny nose, and nausea. If you have these symptoms, be extra cautious to take care of yourself and others. Once someone is exposed to Covid-19, symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as many as 14 days, with an average of about 5. This delay is why it’s so important to follow public health recommendations like handwashing and social distancing, even if you currently feel healthy. 

How can I protect myself (and others) from getting Covid-19?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus yourself, and minimize exposure to others.  Below is a guide to the measures you should be taking to help protect yourself and others, and minimize the spread of Covid-19. [adapted from CDC guidelines]  

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds. Soap is the most effective way to kill the virus. 

    • If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can also be effective.

  • Avoid touching your face - especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently-used surfaces daily.

    • This includes things like countertops, handles, lightswitches, faucets, and phones.

Social Distancing

  • Follow the Governor’s Stay at Home guidelines

  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others

  • Stay home if you’re sick, except when seeking medical care

  • Work from home if possible for your job

Facemasks in public

The CDC advises using cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. 

If your workplace is not making accommodations for employees to follow the above guidelines, please don’t hesitate to notify my office.

Be Wary of Scams:

  • Hang up on robocalls–don’t press any numbers or give out any information.

  • Ignore online offers for vaccines, home test kits and treatments for Coronavirus.

  • Fact-check information –scammers and also well-meaning people are sharing false information.

  • Know who you’re buying products from. Online sellers may make false claims about household, health, and medical supplies. 

  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). 

  • Be very careful and do your homework when giving money to charities or crowdfunding sites for the COVID-19 crisis. Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation. Do not donate in cash, gift cards, or by wiring money. 

Please use Attorney General Keith Ellison’s complaint form here for help with coronavirus-related scams.