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How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Last Updated: 05/25/2021

Our first responders and health care workers are saving lives every day -- so can you.

Your family, your friends, your neighbors -- their lives are literally in your hands.

Here's how you can do your part to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community:

  • Get Vaccinated - Everyone 12 or older who lives, works, or studies in New Jersey is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing you from getting sick. They are one of the most important tools to ending the COVID-19 pandemic and getting back to what you love. Fully vaccinated individuals can safely resume many activities. Appointments and walk-in vaccinations are available near you. Learn more.
  • Wear a Mask - The CDC recommends unvaccinated people wear masks in public spaces, gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.
  • Keep a Social Distance – The CDC recommends unvaccinated people stay at least 6 feet away from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated based on CDC guidance. For more information, refer to the CDC's guidance for domestic travel.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces if you are not vaccinated. Being in crowds like restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19. Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. For more, see the CDC's guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Add Your Phone to the COVID Fight. Download the COVID Alert NJ App - The app is New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert NJ uses Bluetooth proximity technology, never records any identifying data, and all users will remain anonymous. Download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
  • Get Tested – Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. It's especially important to get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms after being exposed, have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated or recently recovered, you were recently in a large gathering where social distancing was hard to maintain and are not fully vaccinated or recently recovered, or if you must travel and are not fully vaccinated. Find a testing location near you.
  • Answer The Phone When A Contact Tracer Calls – You've been called because you either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has – so it's critical you answer the phone. Contact tracers are calling with life-saving information that will keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe and healthy. Learn how contact tracing saves lives at covid19.nj.gov/testandtrace

For more tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones, visit the CDC's website.

Know How COVID-19 Spreads

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and 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.

COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Safety Tips For Gatherings

To avoid putting your loved ones at risk, the CDC and the NJ Department of Health has offered safety tips for in-person gatherings.

Safety Tips For Fully Vaccinated Individuals:

  • You can resume many activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
    You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by law, a business, or a workplace.
  • If you've been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. Note: There are exceptions for those living in high-risk congregate settings like nursing homes and homeless shelters.
  • If you are visiting New Jersey or returning home after travel, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine.
  • Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.

Safety Tips for Unvaccinated Individuals:

  • Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick.
  • Indoor gatherings are particularly dangerous places for the virus to spread. Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible.
  • If you do host indoors, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • The smaller the gathering is, the less likely it is that someone is infected and put loved ones at risk.
  • Require guests to wear masks when not eating, whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated based on CDC guidance. For more information, refer to the CDC's guidance for domestic travel.
  • Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others outside their household.
  • Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
  • Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
  • Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs. If you are called by a contact tracer, it's critical that you answer the call to protect us all. Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.

Managing Your Risk

The NJ Department of Health breaks down the spread of COVID-19 into four factors:

  1. TIME: How long will you be in a place? More time sitting in one place means higher risk.
  2. SPACE: How much space will be around you? Less space means higher risk.
  3. PEOPLE: How many people will be around you? More people means higher risk.
  4. PLACE: What type of place are you going to? Indoor spaces mean higher risk.

Keeping these factors in mind can help you assess your risk while participating in activities.

To learn more refer to this guide created by the NJ Department of Health.

Source:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html;Executive Order No. 125;https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html;https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/COVID_Minimize_Risk.pdf; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 7/29/20; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 10/15/20