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

Last Updated: 04/18/2022

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 5 years or older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey and encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 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. Appointments and walk-in vaccinations are available near you. Learn more.
  • Get a Booster – Studies show immunity wanes over time with COVID-19 vaccines, increasing the risk of getting a breakthrough infection and spreading it to others. To protect yourself and your loved ones, get a booster shot at any vaccination location. Everyone 12 years or older should get a booster -- as long as it has been at least 5 months after your second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or 2 months after your one dose Johnson & Johnson shot. Second Pfizer and Moderna booster doses are available for many people who received their first booster at least 4 months ago. Learn more.
  • Get Tested – Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. It's especially important to get tested if you haveCOVID-19 symptoms after being exposed, have been inclose contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, 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 or order a free at-home testing kit.
  • Wear a mask whenever you have symptoms of COVID-19, tested positive, were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, or live in a county with elevated or "high" COVID community levels.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces and crowds. Open windows and doors to bring in fresh air and avoid crowded places.
  • Stay home if you are sick - Look out for COVID-19 symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath
  • 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.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. For more, see the CDC's guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • Gather with those who are fully vaccinated, outdoors, or in places with good ventilation
  • Wear a mask whenever possible. People may choose to mask at any time. You SHOULD wear a mask if you have COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, exposure to someone with COVID-19, or live in a county with elevated or "high" COVID community levels.
  • Stay home and do not host a gathering if you feel sick.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are a close contact.
  • Even if you aren't sick, get tested before visiting people outside of your household as an added precaution. Visit covid19.nj.gov/testing to find a testing location near you or order a free at-home testing kit.
  • Delay travel until you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • If traveling, visit the CDC's travel page for safety tips and guidance.
  • 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.

Source:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html; https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/protect_yourself_and_others_covid.pdf