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Simple measures are best defense against COVID-19

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The COVID-19 outbreak has underscored the importance of simple precautions that community members can take to slow the spread of the virus and help preserve health system capacity during a critically important time. 

In addition to the social distancing measures recommended by public health officials, Emory Healthcare urges the public to continue to follow these guidelines as a first line of defense against respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you’re unable to wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched frequently (e.g., phones, doorknobs, keyboards).
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Help to flatten the curve by social distancing, including avoiding crowds.

Most people who have COVID-19 infection are mildly ill and improve with supportive care such as resting and drinking plenty of water. Mild symptoms include low-grade fever, cough and congestion similar to a common cold.

For individuals who develop a cold, flu or flu-like illness, staying home can prevent transmission to others. If possible, those individuals should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in the household and remain isolated for at least a week after the onset of symptoms or for three days after the fever is gone and symptoms have significantly improved, whichever is longer.

However, worsening symptoms such as difficulty breathing require medical attention. Individuals experiencing such symptoms should call their doctor’s office, 911 or go to the closest emergency room.

Emory doctors have also helped create a new online tool that helps individuals assess the likelihood they have contracted the novel coronavirus.

The website,, was created based on published Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on COVID-19. The free tool walks individuals through their symptoms and risk factors and offers a straightforward way for users to navigate symptoms and self-triage. While the tool is not a diagnostic, it offers information that can help individuals decide when to reach out to their doctor.

Emory Healthcare is committed to continually monitoring and evaluating the COVID-19 situation. We strongly encourage the public to adhere to the guidance on social distancing to help flatten the curve of this pandemic and ensure our health care infrastructure can meet the needs. Please refer to Emory Healthcare’s COVID-19 site for additional information.

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