There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
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.
Protect yourself and your community from COVID-19.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.
Do I need to wear a face mask?
On June 23, 2020, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners voted to adopt a mandatory face mask ordinance. All persons in Pinellas County must wear a face covering while in most indoor public places, although the Board provided several exceptions.
Activities such as the following can take place without wearing a face covering:
- Participating in religious rituals, such as various forms of singing, provided that social distancing is strictly maintained.
- Exercising while social distancing, such as when working out at a gym.
The requirement also does not apply if a person is strictly adhering to social distancing and there are 10 or fewer people in the location who are also maintaining social distancing.
Click here for a detailed list of frequently-asked questions about Pinellas County’s face mask ordinance.
In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people should wear cloth face coverings (whether sick or not) when they are in a public setting where it is difficult to keep six feet away from others (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Residents should continue to abide by social distancing guidelines, local orders, and conduct proper hand washing.
Medical masks should be reserved for healthcare providers who are on the front lines working to protect us all. Please avoid shopping for surgical, N95 respirator or other medical masks.
The CDC has created guidance for making, using and caring for face coverings.
Read more details and other important considerations about cloth face coverings from from Minnesota Dept. of Health.
For more information about how you can protect yourself, please visit the CDC’s Prevention Treatment page.
Watch for Symptoms
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
For more information about the symptoms you should watch out for, please visit the CDC’s Symptoms.
What to do if you are sick
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.
Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick:
- Stay home except to get medical care
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor
- Wear a face mask
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean your hands often
- Avoid sharing personal household items
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
- Monitor your symptoms
For more information about how you can prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, please visit the CDC’s Steps When Sick page.
For information about COVID-19 testing in Pinellas County, visit our Testing Info page.
For information about how to obtain a COVID-19 test in Pinellas County, visit our dedicated testing page here.