We are all in this together.

COVID-19 has impacted all of us and it is more important than ever for us to help one another. Please download The ALMA Resource Directory at the link below. This directory will provide you with the most up-to-date contact information of ALMA Members dedicated to helping you.

The Arizona Latin-American Medical Association (ALMA) has set up phone lines that will be manned by our association doctors to answer calls from those in need of medical assistance in the state of Arizona. On these calls, ALMA will provide information as to where callers can get the best care for their situation in the shortest amount of time. The effort goes beyond the coronavirus pandemic but is particularly needful as infection and mortality rates are affecting Arizona’s minorities at a disproportionate scale.

Our services are available in both English (480)-788-9692 and Spanish (602)-888-4073 and both phone numbers have doctors answering phones 24/7.

Please check back here, we will be updating this information and announcing how ALMA is helping our hermanos y hermanas aqui in Arizona.

If You Don’t Have Insurance

If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath and you need to see a healthcare provider, you should do so. If you do not have a medical home or are uninsured, consider visiting a community health center. They will work with you to help you get access to a healthcare provider.

Please make sure you call ahead and let them know your symptoms, so you are not putting anyone at risk. You should also cover your mouth and nose when out in public. Please call 602-253-0090 or look at the AACHC website for a health care center near you.

Si usted tiene sintomas, como dificultad para respirar, Ud. debe ver un medico. Si usted no tiene seguro medico, considere ir a un centro de salud comunitario.

Por favor llame antes de ir, y digales los sintomas que tiene, asi no pone en riesgo otras personas. Ud. debe cubrirse su boca y la nariz cuando este en lugares publicos. Por favor llame al 602-253-0090 o mire el sitio en internet AACHC para un sitio cerca a Ud.

For an Interactive Map/Para un mapa interactivo: https://www.aachc.org/communityhealthcenters/map/

ADHS, DEMA, and HHS Announce Details On COVID-19 Testing Strike Force

Testing Sites Will Provide Up To 5,000 Free Diagnostic Tests Per Day to Underserved Communities

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) announced details of a new partnership today with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide additional diagnostic testing in Arizona, with a focus on Maryvale and South Phoenix. The federal strike team, working with ADHS, DEMA, and Phoenix Incident Command on logistics, will launch two testing sites that will provide free diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in these high-need, underserved communities.

The testing will begin on Friday, July 17, and continue for twelve days at South Mountain Park, 10919 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85042, and Maryvale High School, 3415 N 59th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85033. Information on pre-registration for the testing sites will be available at azhealth.gov/SurgeTesting. To ensure an appointment and reduce wait times, participants are encouraged to pre-register. http://azhealth.gov/SurgeTesting

Through this partnership, HHS has committed up to 5,000 tests per day – 2,500 at each site – to serve up to 60,000 Arizonans. This test involves a self-administered nasal swab in a drive-thru stall. Those tested will receive five cloth face coverings. Results will be available within 24-48 hours from the time specimens arrive at the lab. The tested individual will receive the results through an online portal.

“This rapid surge in testing will have an immediate impact in containing COVID-19 and help us to increase testing in communities where it’s needed most,” said Governor Ducey. “My thanks to our federal partners and their continued partnership and for continuing to step up to aid public health in Arizona.”

“Increased community testing is a critical public health tool to help us reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona,” said Dr. Cara Christ, ADHS director. “Over the last several months we have been working with partners across the state to increase COVID-19 testing. The high volume, rapid testing that our federal partners can provide will help increase testing to underserved areas of the state. We appreciate the help from our federal, state, and local partners to increase access to testing.”

“I’m proud to partner with local incident commands to get them the federal resources they need to conduct necessary testing,” said Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, Arizona Director of Emergency and Military Affairs. “Flattening this curve requires a whole-of-community approach, and we will support Phoenix incident commands just as we did with the Navajo Nation.”


The new partnership will further increase the number of people who are getting a diagnostic COVID-19 test. Since April, PCR diagnostic testing has increased by nearly 570% from 52,866 tests in April to 367,992 tests in June. There have been 54,578 PCR tests reported in the first week of July.

Arizonans can take the following precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wear a mask every time you are in public, even if you do not feel sick.
  • Physically distance by staying at least six feet away from others who are not in your household when you are in public.
  • Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Arizonans at higher risk for severe illness should continue to stay at home and avoid crowded public spaces. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
  • 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 that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Healthcare providers are offering testing at over 300 testing locations statewide. People are encouraged to follow the instructions on the testing website as many of the healthcare providers require individuals to pre-register for testing and may have other requirements to get tested. Testing locations along with appointment times and registration links can be found online at azhealth.gov/testing.

Phoenix Area Resources

ALMA Ancillary Resource List

Click here to view and download our list of Arizona Resources.

¿Que es el COVID-19?

COVID-19 significa “enfermedad por coronavirus 2019”. La causa de la enfermedad es un virus llamado SARS-CoV-2. El virus apareció por primera 
vez a fines de 2019 y se propagó rápidamente por todo el mundo.

Las personas que padecen COVID-19 pueden tener fiebre, tos, dificultad para respirar y otros síntomas. Los problemas para respirar aparecen cuando la infección afecta a los pulmones y causa neumonía.

La mayoría de las personas que se contagian de COVID-19 no se enferman gravemente, pero algunas si. En muchas zonas les han pedido a los habitantes que no salgan de sus casas y se mantengan alejados de otras personas. Es una medida para tratar de desacelerar la propagación del virus.

¿Como se contagia el COVID-19?

El virus que causa COVID-19 se transmite principalmente de persona a persona. En general, esto ocurre cuando una persona infectada tose, estornuda o habla cerca de otras personas. Los medicos también creen que es posible contagiarse al tocar una superficie en la que se encuentra el virus y luego tocarse la boca, la nariz o los ojos. Es similar al contagio de la gripe, pero el virus que causa COVID-19 se propaga más fácilmente.

¿Es posible infectarse y contagiar a otras personas incluso sin tener síntomas?

Si. Por eso es que si las personas se mantienen alejadas (guardando una distancia social) es una de las mejores maneras de desacelerar la propagación de la enfermedad.

Ademas, una persona infectada puede contagiar el virus a un animal (por ejemplo, una mascota), pero al parecer esto no ocurre con frecuencia. No hay pruebas de que el virus se pueda contagiar a las personas a través de una mascota.

¿Cuáles son los síntomas del COVID-19?

Los síntomas suelen comenzar 4 o 5 días después de que la persona se infecta con el virus, pero en algunos casos pueden tardar hasta 2 semanas en aparecer. Hay personas que no tienen ningún síntoma.

Cuando aparecen síntomas, algunos pueden ser:

• Fiebre
• Tos
• Dificultad para respirar
• Sensación de cansancio
• Escalofríos
• Dolores musculares
• Dolor de cabeza
• Dolor de garganta
• Problemas con el sentido del olfato o del gusto
• También hay quienes tienen problemas digestivos como náuseas o diarrea.

En la mayoría de los casos, los síntomas  mejoran al cabo de algunas semanas. Sin embargo, en otros casos el COVID-19 puede causar problemas graves como neumonía, falta de oxigeno, problemas cardiacos o incluso la muerte. Esto es mas común en personas mayores de 65 años o que tienen otros problemas de salud como enfermedad coronaria, diabetes, enfermedad pulmonar, cancer u obesidad.

Si bien los niños pueden contraer COVID-19, es menos probable que tengan sintomas graves. Se brinda información sobre
el COVID-19 en niños por separado. (Ver “Educación para el paciente: Enfermedad por coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) en niños (Conceptos Básicos)”.

¿Que debo hacer si tengo síntomas?

Si tiene fiebre, tos, dificultad para respirar o una combinacion de otros síntomas de COVID-19, llame a su medico o enfermero, quien le hará preguntas sobre sus síntomas. También puede preguntarle sobre los viajes que haya hecho recientemente y si ha estado cerca de alguna persona que podría estar enferma.

Si sus sintomas no son graves, es mejor que llame antes de ir. Ellos les dirán que hacer y si deben atenderlo en persona. Muchas
personas que solo tienen síntomas leves deben quedarse en casa y evitar estar cerca de otros hasta que mejoren. Si es necesario que vaya a la clinica o al hospital, cubrase la nariz y la boca con una tela para ayudar a proteger a otras personas. Ademas es posible que el personal sanitario le pida que espere en un sitio apartado de otras personas.

Incluso si esta gravemente enfermo y tiene que ir a la clínica u hospital de inmediato, debe llamar antes, si es posible. De ese modo, el personal sanitario podrá atenderlo y también tomar las medidas necesarias para proteger a los demás. Si cree que está teniendo una emergencia médica, pida una ambulancia (en EE. UU. y Canadá marque 9-1-1).

¿Existe alguna prueba para detectar el virus que causa COVID-19?

Si el médico o enfermero sospecha que usted tiene COVID-19, podría tomar una muestra del interior de su nariz con un isopo y enviarla a un laboratorio para que le hagan pruebas. Si tiene tos con moco, tambien podrian hacerse pruebas con una muestra del moco. Estas pruebas pueden ayudar al médico a determinar si usted tiene COVID-19 u otra enfermedad.

En algunas zonas, tal vez no sea posible realizarles la prueba a todas las personas que podrían haberse expuesto al virus. Si el medico no puede hacerle la prueba, tal vez le diga que se quede en su casa y evite estar con otras personas, y que lo llame si los síntomas empeoran.

También hay una prueba de sangre que permite saber si una persona tuvo COVID-19 anteriormente. Con el tiempo, esto podría ayudar a los expertos a determinar cuantas personas estuvieron infectadas sin saberlo. Ademas, los expertos estan usando pruebas de sangre para analizar si una persona que tuvo COVID-19 podría volver a contagiarse.

¿Como se trata el COVID-19?

No se conoce ningún tratamiento específico  para el COVID-19. Muchas personas pueden recuperarse en su casa. Sin embargo, quienes tienen síntomas graves u otros problemas de salud posiblemente tengan que ir al hospital.

Enfermedad leve – Si está levemente enfermo, podría tener síntomas como fiebre o tos, pero no dificultad para respirar. La mayoría de las personas que tienen COVID-19 se enferman levemente y pueden hacer reposo en su casa hasta mejorarse. En general, esto ocurre en alrededor de 2 semanas, pero cada caso es diferente.

Si se esta recuperando del COVID-19, es importante que se quede en su casa y practique el “autoaislamiento” hasta que su médico o enfermero le diga que es seguro que retome a sus actividades normales. El autoaislamiento consiste en mantenerse lejos de otras personas, incluso de quienes vivan con usted. La duración del autoaislamiento dependerá de cuándo hayan comenzado sus síntomas, y en algunos casos de si se hizo la prueba y el resultado fue negativo (lo que indica que ya no tiene el virus en el cuerpo).

Enfermedad grave – Si se enferma más  gravemente y tiene dificultad para respirar, es posible que deba recibir tratamiento en el hospital, quizá en la unidad de cuidados intensivos. Mientras este allí es probable que permanezca en una habitación de aislamiento especial. Solo el personal médico tendrá acceso a la habitación y deberá usar batas, guantes, mascarillas y protección ocular especiales.

Los médicos y enfermeros pueden supervisar y complementar la respiración y otras funciones del cuerpo, y darle la mayor comodidad posible. Tal vez necesite oxigeno para que lo ayude a respirar fácilmente. Si tiene mucha dificultad para respirar, quizá sea necesario que lo conecten a un respirador, que es una maquina para ayudarlo a respirar.

Los medicos están estudiando varios tratamientos para determinar si podrían servir para tratar el COVID-19. En ciertos casos, los medicos podrían recomendar esos tratamientos o que el paciente participe en un estudio clínico. Un estudio clínico es un estudio científico en el que se prueban nuevas medicinas para ver como funcionan. Asegúrese de no probar ninguna medicina ni tratamiento nuevo sin haber hablado con un medico.

¿Se puede prevenir el COVID-19?

Todavía no existe ninguna vacuna para prevenir el COVID-19. Sin embargo, hay ciertas cosas que puede hacer para disminuir sus posibilidades de contagiarse. Estas medidas son recomendables para todos, en especial para quienes viven en zonas donde la infección se está propagando muy rápidamente, pero son aún mas importantes para las personas mayores de 65 años o con otros problemas de salud.

Para ayudar a protegerse y proteger a los demás practique el “distanciamiento social”. Lo mas importante es evitar el contacto con personas enfermas, pero el distanciamiento social también implica mantenerse alejado de todas las personas que no viven con usted. A veces se le llama “distanciamiento físico”.

Evitar las multitudes es un aspecto importante del distanciamiento social. Sin embargo, hasta las pequeñas reuniones pueden ser peligrosas, así que lo mejor es que se quede en su casa en la mayor medida posible. Cuando tenga que salir, por ejemplo para comprar alimentos o medicinas, haga lo posible por mantener una distancia mínima  de 6 pies (alrededor de 2 metros) de las demás personas. Algunos grupos de expertos también recomiendan que se cubra la cara cuando tenga que salir (Ver abajo ¿Que hay de las máscaras?).

Lavarse las manos con agua y jabón frecuentemente es particularmente importante después de estar en público, recibir la correspondencia, o tocar paquetes u otras entregas a domicilio. Asegúrese de refregarse las manos con jabón durante un mínimo de 20 segundos, y de limpiarse las muñecas, las uñas y la piel entre los dedos. Luego, enjuáguese las manos y séquelas con una toalla de papel que pueda tirar a la basura.

Si no tiene un lavabo cerca, puede limpiarse con un gel higienizante para manos. Los mas efectivos son aquellos que contienen un mínimo de 60 % de alcohol. Sin embargo, lo mejor es lavarse las manos con jabón y agua, si es posible.

Evite tocarse la cara, especialmente la boca, la nariz o los ojos.

Evite viajar si puede. Algunos expertos recomiendan no viajar hacia o desde ciertas zonas donde el COVID-19 se esta esparciendo rápidamente. Sin embargo, cualquier tipo de viaje, especialmente si implica estar en lugares concurridos tales como aeropuertos, aumenta el riesgo. 
Además, si muchas personas viajan, es mas probable que el virus se propague a mas lugares del mundo.

¿Porque es tan importante el distanciamiento social?

Mantener la distancia entre las personas es una de las mejores formas de controlar la propagación del virus que causa COVID-19. Eso se debe a que el virus puede propagarse fácilmente a través del contacto cercano, y no siempre es posible saber quien está infectado.

En muchos lugares las escuelas y las tiendas estan cerradas, y se han cancelado eventos. Sin embargo, el distanciamiento social no solo consiste en evitar las multitudes. También es importante evitar cualquier reunión con personas que no vivan con usted, incluso si se trata de grupos pequeños. A muchas personas les resulta util mantenerse en contacto con amigos y familiares de otros modos; por ejemplo, por teléfono o en linea (internet). Si tiene un espacio al aire libre o puede hacer una caminata sin acercarse a otras personas, tomar un poco de aire fresco cuando pueda también puede ser util.

Cuando los expertos recomiendan quedarse en casa, es importante tomar en serio esta indicación y seguir las instrucciones en la mayor medida posible. No es fácil tener que cambiar de modo de vida y de hábitos, y es normal querer que las cosas vuelvan a ser como eran. Pero recuerde que, incluso si no se enferma gravemente de COVID-19, podría contagiar a otras personas que si podrían enfermarse gravemente. 
Si se deja de practicar el distanciamiento social demasiado pronto, mas personas se enfermaran.

¿Que hay de las mascaras?

El lavado frecuente de manos y el distanciamiento social siguen siendo las mejores maneras de protegerse y proteger a los demás. Además los expertos no recomiendan que quienes no trabajan en lugares de atención de la salud usen mascaras medicas. No obstante, el Centro para el Control y la Prevención de enfermedades de Estados Unidos (CDC) recomiendan que se cubra la cara cuando tenga que salir de su casa. De ese modo, si esta enfermo, incluso si no tiene síntomas, es menos probable que transmita la infección a otras personas. Puede cubrirse la boca y la nariz con un pedazo de tela o un pañuelo para la cabeza. Hay sitios web con instrucciones para confeccionar su propia mascara con un pedazo de tela y bandas elásticas.

Incluso si se cubre la cara, es importante que se quede en casa salvo para hacer salidas obligatorias, por ejemplo para comprar alimentos o medicinas. Cuando salga de su casa, asegúrese de guardar una distancia minima de 6 pies (2 metros) de las demás personas.

Al quitarse el protector facial, asegúrese de no tocarse los ojos, la nariz o la boca. Después de tocar el protector facial, lávese las manos. Puede lavar el protector facial con el resto de la ropa sucia.

¿Que debo hacer si vivo con alguien que tiene COVID-19?

Si vive con alguien que tiene el COVID-19, hay algunas cosas que puede hacer para protegerse a sí mismo y a los demás:
Mantenga al enfermo alejado de otras personas – El enfermo debe tener su propia habitación y usar otro baño, si es posible. Ademas, debe comer en su propia habitación.

Los expertos también recomiendan que la persona enferma se mantenga alejada de las mascotas de la casa hasta que se mejore.

Pida al enfermo que se cubra la cara – La persona enferma debe cubrirse la nariz y la boca con una mascara de tela cuando haya otras personas en la misma habitación. Si el enfermo no puede usar un protector facial, usted puede cubrirse la cara cuando se encuentren en la misma habitación, para ayudar a protegerse.

Lavarse las manos: Lávese las manos con agua y jabón frecuentemente (ver arriba).

Limpie con frecuencia – Estas son algunas cosas especificas que pueden ser de ayuda:
Póngase guantes desechables para limpiar. También es conveniente que se ponga guantes para tocar la ropa sucia, los platos, los utensilios y los desechos de la persona enferma.
Cuando lave la ropa de la persona enferma, evite que la ropa o las sabanas sucias entren en contacto con su cuerpo. Lávese las manos y limpie las superficies de la lavadora después de colocar la ropa sucia.

Limpie con frecuencia los objetos que se tocan mucho, como las manijas, las mesas de noche, los picaportes, las computadoras, los teléfonos y las superficies de los baños.

Limpie los objetos de su casa con agua y jabón, pero también use desinfectantes en las superficies adecuadas. Algunos productos de limpieza son efectivos para eliminar las bacterias pero no los virus, por lo que es importante leer las etiquetas. La Agencia de Protección Ambiental (Environmental Protection Agency, EPA) de Estados Unidos tiene una lista de productos aquí: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-=disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.

¿Que ocurre si me siento bien pero creo que estuve expuesto?

Si piensa que tuvo contacto cercano con alguien que tiene COVID-19, pero usted no tiene síntomas, debe hacer una “autocuarentena” de 14 días como mínimo en su casa. Esto consiste en quedarse en su casa en la medida de lo posible y guardar una distancia minima de 6 pies (2 metros) de las demás personas. La autocuarentena no es exactamente lo mismo que el autoaislamiento, el cual consiste en que una persona enferma permanezca en una habitación completamente separada de los demás.

Además, debe vigilar su propia salud por si aparecen síntomas. En caso de que aparezcan, infórmeselo a su médico o enfermero de inmediato.

¿Que sucede si estoy embarazada?

Se brinda mas información por separado sobre el COVID-19 durante el embarazo. Ver: “Educación• para el paciente: Enfermedad por coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) y embarazo (Conceptos Básicos)”.

Si esta embarazada y tiene preguntas sobre el COVID-19, hable con su médico, enfermero o partera.

¿Que puedo hacer para sobrellevar el estrés y la ansiedad?

Es normal sentir ansiedad o preocupación con respecto al COVID-19. Para cuidarse y cuidar de su familia, puede intentar lo siguiente:

• Distraerse de las noticias.
• Hacer ejercicio regularmente y comer alimentos saludables.
• Tratar de buscar actividades que disfrute y que pueda hacer en casa.
• Mantenerse en contacto con amigos y familiares.

Recuerde que la mayoría de las personas no se enferman gravemente a causa del COVID-19. Es util prepararse, y es importante que haga lo que este a su alcance para disminuir su riesgo y ayudar a desacelerar la propagación del virus, pero trate de no entrar en pánico.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 stands for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus first appeared in late 2019 and quickly spread around the world.

People with COVID-19 can have fever, cough, trouble breathing, and other symptoms. Problems with breathing happen when the infection affects the lungs and causes pneumonia.

Most people who get COVID-19 will not get severely ill. But some do. In many areas, people have been told to stay home and away from other people. This is to try to slow the spread of the virus.

How is COVID-19 spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. This usually happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks near other people. Doctors also think it is possible to get sick if you touch a surface that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. This is similar to how the flu spreads, but the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads more easily.

A person can be infected, and spread the virus to others, even without having any symptoms. This is why keeping people apart is one of the best ways to slow the spread.

It is also possible for the virus to spread from an infected person to an animal, like a pet. But this seems to be uncommon. There is no evidence that a person could get the virus from a pet.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms usually start 4 or 5 days after a person is infected with the virus. But in some people, it can take up to 2 weeks for symptoms to appear. Some people never show symptoms at all.

When symptoms do happen, they can include:

• Fever
• Cough
• Trouble breathing
• Feeling tired

• Shaking chills
• Muscle aches

• Headache
• Sore throat
• Problems with sense of smell or taste

Some people have digestive problems like nausea or diarrhea.

For most people, symptoms will get better within a few weeks. But in others, COVID-19 can lead to serious problems like pneumonia, not getting enough oxygen, heart problems, or even death. This is more common in people who are 65 years or older or have other health problems like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, cancer, or obesity.

While children can get COVID-19, they are less likely to have severe symptoms. More information about COVID-19 and children is available separately. (See “Patient education: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and children (The Basics)”.)

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have a fever, cough, trouble breathing, or a combination of other COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or nurse. They will ask about your symptoms. They might also ask about any recent travel and whether you have been around anyone who might be sick.
If your symptoms are not severe, it is best to call before you go in. The staff can tell you what to do and whether you need to be seen in person. Many people with only mild symptoms should stay home and avoid other people until they get better. If you do need to go to the clinic or hospital, cover your nose and mouth with cloth. This helps protect other people. The staff might also have you wait someplace away from other people.

If you are severely ill and need to go to the clinic or hospital right away, you should still call ahead if possible. This way the staff can care for you while taking steps to protect others. If you think you are having a medical emergency, call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1).

Is there a test for the virus that causes COVID-19?

Yes. If your doctor or nurse suspects you have COVID-19, they might take a swab from inside your nose and send it to a lab for testing. If you are coughing up mucus, they might also test a sample of the mucus. These tests can help your doctor figure out if you have COVID-19 or another illness.

In some areas, it might not be possible to test everyone who might have been exposed to the virus. If your doctor cannot test you, they might tell you to stay home, avoid other people, and call if your symptoms get worse.

There is also a blood test that can show if a person has had COVID-19 in the past. Over time, this could help experts understand how many people were infected without knowing it. Experts are also using blood tests to study whether a person who has had COVID-19 could get it again.

How is COVID-19 treated?

There is no known specific treatment for COVID-19. Many people will be able to stay home while they get better. But people with serious symptoms or other health problems might need to go to the hospital.

• Mild illness – Mild illness means you might have symptoms like fever and cough, but you do not have trouble breathing. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can rest at home until they get better. This usually takes about 2 weeks, but it’s not the same for everyone.

If you are recovering from COVID-19, it’s important to stay home and “self-isolate” until your doctor or nurse tells you it’s safe to go back to your normal activities. Self-isolation means staying apart from other people, even the people you live with. When you can stop self-isolation will depend on how long it has been since you had symptoms, and in some cases, whether you have had a negative test (showing that the virus is no longer in your body).

• Severe illness – If you have more severe illness with trouble breathing, you might need to stay in the hospital, possibly in the intensive care unit (also called the “ICU”). While you are there, you will most likely be in a special isolation room. Only medical staff will be allowed in the room, and they will have to wear special gowns, gloves, masks, and eye protection.

The doctors and nurses can monitor and support your breathing and other body functions and make you as comfortable as possible. You might need extra oxygen to help you breathe easily. If you are having a very hard time breathing, you might need to be put on a ventilator. This is a machine to help you breathe.

Doctors are studying several different treatments to learn whether they might work to treat COVID-19. In certain cases, doctors might recommend these treatments or being part of a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a scientific study that tests new medicines to see how well they work. Do not try any new medicines or treatments without talking to a doctor.

Can COVID-19 be prevented?

There is not yet a vaccine to prevent COVID-19. But there are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting it. These steps are a good idea for everyone, especially if you are in an area where the infection is spreading very quickly. But they are extra important for people age 65 years or older or who have other health problems.

To help protect yourself and others:

• Practice “social distancing.” It’s most important to avoid contact with people who are sick. But social distancing also means staying away from all people who do not live in your household. It is sometimes called “physical distancing.”

Avoiding crowds is an important part of social distancing. But even small gatherings can be risky, so it’s best to stay home as much as you can. When you do need to go out, such as for food or medicine, try your best to stay at least 6 feet (about 2 meters) away from other people. Some expert groups also recommend covering your face when you need to go out. (See ‘What about face masks?’ below.)

• Wash your hands with soap and water often. This is especially important after being out in public, getting your mail, or touching packages or other deliveries. Make sure to rub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, cleaning your wrists, fingernails, and in between your fingers. Then rinse your hands and dry them with a paper towel you can throw away.

If you are not near a sink, you can use a hand sanitizing gel to clean your hands. The gels with at least 60 percent alcohol work the best. But it is better to wash with soap and water if you can.

• Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, nose, or eyes.
• Avoid traveling if you can. Some experts recommend not traveling to or from certain areas where COVID-19 is spreading quickly. But any form of travel, especially if you spend time in crowded places like airports, increases your risk. If lots of people travel, it also makes it more likely that the virus will spread to more parts of the world.

Why is social distancing so important?

Keeping people away from each other is one of the best ways to control the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. That’s because the virus can spread easily through close contact, and it’s not always possible to know who is infected.

In many places, schools and businesses are closed, and events have been canceled. But social distancing is not just about avoiding big crowds. It’s also important to avoid any gatherings with people from outside your household, even in small groups. Many people find it helpful to stay in touch with friends and relatives in other ways, like over the phone or online. If you have outdoor space, or can take a walk without getting near other people, it can also help to get fresh air when you are able.

When experts recommend staying home, it’s important to take this seriously and follow instructions as best you can. It’s hard having to change your life and habits, and it’s normal to want things to get back to the way they used to be. But remember, even if you do not get very sick from COVID-19, you could still spread it to others who could get very sick. If people stop social distancing too soon, more people will get sick.

What about face masks?

Washing your hands often and practicing social distancing are still the best ways to protect yourself and others. And experts do not recommend that people who are not health workers wear a medical mask. But the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend covering your face when you need to leave your house. This is mostly so that if you are sick, even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are less likely to spread the infection to other people. You can use cloth or a bandana to cover your mouth and nose. There are instructions online about how to make your own mask using fabric and rubber bands.

Even if you cover your face, it’s still important to stay home except for necessary trips out, like to get food or medicine. And be sure to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people when you do leave your home.

When you take your face cover off, make sure you do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. And wash your hands after you touch the face cover. You can wash the face cover with the rest of your laundry.

What should I do if someone in my home has COVID-19?

If someone in your home has COVID-19, there are additional things you can do to protect yourself and others:

• Keep the sick person away from others – The sick person should stay in a separate room, and use a different bathroom if possible. They should also eat in their own room.

Experts also recommend that the person stay away from pets in the house until they are better.
• Have them cover their face – The sick person should cover their nose and mouth with a cloth mask when they are in the same room as other people. If they can’t use a face cover, you can help protect yourself by covering your face when you are in the room with them.
• Wash hands – Wash your hands with soap and water often (see above).
• Clean often – Here are some specific things that can help:
• Wear disposable gloves when you clean. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when you have to touch the sick person’s laundry, dishes, utensils, or trash.
• When you do the sick person’s laundry, avoid letting dirty clothes or bedding touch your body. Wash your hands and clean the outside of the washer after putting in the laundry.
• Regularly clean things that are touched a lot. This includes counters, bedside tables, doorknobs, computers, phones, and bathroom surfaces.
• Clean things in your home with soap and water, but also use disinfectants on appropriate surfaces. Some cleaning products work well to kill bacteria, but not viruses, so it’s important to check labels. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of products here: Https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2.

What if I feel fine but think I was exposed?

If you think you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, but you don’t have any symptoms, you should “self-quarantine” at home for at least 14 days. This means staying home as much as possible, and staying least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people in your home. Self-quarantine is slightly different from self-isolation, which is when a person who is sick stays in a completely separate room from others.

You should also monitor yourself for any symptoms. If you do start to have symptoms, call your doctor or nurse right away.

What if I am pregnant?

More information about COVID-19 and pregnancy is available separately. (See “Patient education: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and pregnancy (The Basics)”.)

If you are pregnant and you have questions about COVID-19, talk to your doctor, nurse, or midwife.

What can I do to cope with stress and anxiety?

It’s normal to feel anxious or worried about COVID-19. You can take care of yourself, and your family, by trying to:

• Take breaks from the news
• Get regular exercise and eat healthy foods
• Try to find activities that you enjoy and can do at home
• Stay in touch with your friends and family members

Keep in mind that most people do not get severely ill from COVID-19. It helps to be prepared, and it’s important to do what you can to lower your risk and help slow the spread of the virus. But try not to panic.

Where can I go to learn more?

As we learn more about this virus, expert recommendations will continue to change. Check with your doctor or public health official to get the most updated information about how to protect yourself.

For information about COVID-19 in your area, you can call your local public health office. In the United States, this usually means your city or town’s Board of Health. Many states also have a “hotline” phone number you can call.

You can find more information about COVID-19 at the following websites:

• United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/COVID19
• World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Information is provided by NMA. The National Medical Association (NMA) is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health.
View or download informative pdf here:

Learn more about NMA here:

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