Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What is Conoravirus Disease or COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China. Media outlets began widely reporting news about the virus transmission in China in December, 2019. Since that time, the virus has spread to other countries including the United States.

Because this is a new virus, public health authorities do not yet have all of the possible information on the disease, but as new information is learned, this information will be shared by those authorities, including the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an operating division of the HHS. (For the latest updates, visit the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html)


The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person when in close contact with one another or through droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 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.1


Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and can range from mild to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath


The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, there are everyday steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • If a tissue is not available cough into your elbow
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often 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. The type of soap is not important; it is the motion of washing that cleanses your hands.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately, by phone. Inform the health care provider of any symptoms of a respiratory infection such as cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, or fever. There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive care to help relieve symptoms.

What to do if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent spreading the disease to people in your home and community.

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your homeWear a facemask
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces everyday

State and Local Contacts

To reach your state and local public health departments please visit:



Facts about COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts.html

COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Fact Sheets: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html

FAQs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Situation Update

Active Monitoring of Persons Exposed to Patients with Confirmed COVID-19 - United States, January-February 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6909e1.htm?s_cid=mm6909e1_e&deliveryName=USCDC_921-DM21476

Access to Care / Billing

For information from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). How COVID-19 Spreads. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Prevention & Treatment. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

NIHB Contacts:

Public Health Policy and Programs

National Indian Health Board
50 F St NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-507-4070

National Indian Health Board
50 F St NW, Suite 600 | Washington, DC 20001 | Phone: 202-507-4070 | Email: [email protected]