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Slowing the Spread FAQs

  • How can I prevent myself from getting the virus?

    COVID-19 spreads when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. Small droplets drift in the air and are breathed in, or larger droplets land on the body or objects, allowing SARS...
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  • Should I wear a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 08/03/2020
    Always wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public spaces. Even if you don't feel sick, germs can spread to others through respiratory droplets produced by breathing, talking, sneezing, and coug...
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  • What Is Contact Tracing? How Does It Stop The Spread of COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 08/13/2020
    As part of the State's plan to safely restart the economy, we are implementing a comprehensive contact tracing program. For more information, visit the New Jersey COVID-19 Testing and Contact Traci...
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  • How do I know when a contact tracer is calling? How do I know it's not a scam? What will they ask me?

    Last Updated: 07/06/2020
    Contact tracers are calling with life-saving information that will keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe and healthy. When a New Jersey contact tracer calls, it's because you tested po...
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  • How do I know if I am an asymptomatic carrier?

    The only definitive way to know if you have COVID-19 is by getting tested. Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. Find a testing location near you by visiting covid19.nj.gov/testing. I...
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  • If two people are suspected to be infected, can they self isolate in close proximity to each other?

    Unless it is unavoidable, two people 'suspected' of being infected should not be isolated together if they will have contact with each other or the potential to spread the disease between one anoth...
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  • Can the coronavirus spread through sweat?

    There is no evidence that the virus can be spread through sweat. However, the virus can be transmitted in places like gyms by other means - through respiratory droplets that pass from person to per...
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  • Is it safe to read my mail or the newspaper or handle packages delivered to my house?

    While the likelihood of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus from mail, newspapers, or packages is low, the CDC says it's a good idea to wipe them down with a disinfecting cloth that contains ...
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  • Can just hot water kill the COVID-19 virus on surfaces? If yes, for how long?

    No, hot water alone cannot kill the virus that causes COVID-19 on surfaces. The virus (SARS-CoV-2) has a fat-based envelope that makes it very susceptible to detergents and alcohol. While it is lik...
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  • What should I do if I think my co-worker has COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 08/10/2020
    NOTE: It's important to prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace. Employees should not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiali...
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  • When is it okay to end home isolation, or leave home, after recovering from COVID-19?

    People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can leave home under the following conditions*: If you have not had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home aft...
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  • What are common misconceptions about contact tracing?

    Last Updated: 06/09/2020
    Q: If I test positive for COVID-19, do I have to tell the contact tracer everyone I was in close contact with? Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting your loved ones...
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  • How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 07/29/2020
    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 yo...
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  • Can someone who has been quarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

    Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to pr...
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  • How you can help the State’s contact tracing program? How can I become a contact tracer?

    Last Updated: 07/31/2020
    Answer The Call – Protect Your Loved Ones – Stop COVID-19 Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting your loved ones. Contact tracers are calling with life-saving in...
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  • Is it safe to visit a newborn baby? If not, how long should I stay away?

    While children seem to fare well during coronavirus infections, newborns do not have fully developed immune systems. A study of children conducted in China found that of various age groups, newborn...
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  • Am I at risk if I touch someone who died of COVID-19 after they have passed away?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread from close contact (i.e., within about 6 feet) with a person who is cu...
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  • How is the State tracing so many contacts?

    Last Updated: 09/11/2020
    As testing of individuals for COVID-19 increases, so does the need for contact tracers to conduct interviews with individuals who may have come into contact with those who tested positive. It is es...
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  • Can getting the flu shot, or vaccines against pneumonia, help ward off pneumonia brought on by COVID-19?

    There is no evidence that getting the vaccination against influenza will help against COVID-19. They are different viruses and the antibodies that protect us from one virus do not protect us agains...
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  • For Contact Tracing, Who is Considered A Close Contact?

    Last Updated: 05/14/2020
    For contact tracing purposes, a "close contact" is anyone who was within six feet of you for more than 10 minutes starting two days before you first had symptoms. Source: Governor's Remarks 5/12/20...
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  • How Is My Data Being Used and How Is My Privacy Being Protected When Contact Tracing?

    Last Updated: 08/13/2020
    Your information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status – that information will only be known to public health officials and our local health dep...
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  • What is community spread?

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dra...
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  • Is hand sanitizer effective against the virus?

    If used properly, alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is an effective way to kill the COVID-19 virus. Hand sanitizer is often faster and easier, however if you have the option, y...
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  • Why aren't we asking only the most vulnerable in our communities to self-isolate instead of the entire population?

    While the elderly and those with certain underlying health conditions are most at risk for severe COVID-19, many young, healthy people are also becoming very ill and requiring hospitalization, or e...
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  • Is it safe to eat takeout food?

    Properly prepared cooked food is unlikely to get you sick with COVID-19. Although there could be some risk from the person-to-person interaction of picking up food or getting delivery, this might s...
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  • How can I protest while minimizing my risk of catching COVID-19 or spreading it to others?

    Last Updated: 06/08/2020
    NOTE: Testing is now available to everyone in New Jersey. Get tested for COVID-19 after participating in large gatherings where social distancing is hard to maintain. To learn more about where and ...
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  • Is Bactine effective as hand sanitizer against COVID-19 virus?

    According to the active ingredients list, Bactine uses Benzalkonium as an antiseptic (as substance that stops germs). One recent study found that Benzalkoium is not as effective as alcohol-based sa...
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  • Can children catch the COVID-19 virus at school?

    Yes. Respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19, are spread when people come into contact with one another. This means that any place where people gather in close proximity can lead to viral tr...
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  • Can people infected with COVID-19 spread the disease before appearing to be ill?

    Yes. Everyone should wear face coverings because around 40 percent of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 may not show symptoms, so it's not clear who is or is not infected and capable of spreading COVI...
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  • Where has New Jersey established field medical stations for COVID-19 response?

    Last Updated: 07/08/2020
    The East Orange Alternate Care Site, located in a former physical therapy rehabilitation center, has space set aside for individuals in isolation who have tested positive for COVID-19, don't have s...
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  • What should people at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19 do?

    If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should: stock up on supplies; take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others; when you go out in public, keep ...
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  • How do I safely handle deliveries and interact with in-home service providers?

    Last Updated: 05/27/2020
    DELIVERIES Packages There is low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through clos...
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  • What's the best guidance for cleaning a facility when someone may have been sick?

    Last Updated: 04/20/2020
    It is recommended to close off areas used by anyone who is ill or has symptoms and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respira...
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  • Why close schools if children do not get very sick with COVID-19?

    Even children who do not show symptoms may still carry the disease and pass it on to others. COVID-19 can easily be transmitted from person to person, and people do not have pre-existing immunity. ...
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  • How can I get infected?

    COVID-19 spreads when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. Small droplets drift in the air and are breathed in, or larger droplets land on the body or objects, allowing SARS...
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  • Should I wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    Yes. Up to 25 percent of people infected with the novel coronavirus may not exhibit symptoms, and could be able to spread COVID-19 to others by breathing or talking. Furthermore, those who are infe...
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  • Would closing schools help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

    In the past, closing schools does appear to have helped to control the spread of viruses like influenza. This is because children tend to be very susceptible to common human respiratory viruses. Th...
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  • Since there is a shortage of masks, is it possible to make your own?

    The CDC has stated that if no manufactured masks are available, that homemade masks such as bandanas or scarves may be used as a last resort. Although, there have not been studies done to see wheth...
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  • Is it safe to go...to the gym...on playdates...to parties...out to the bars for drinks...to sleepovers...to friends’ or family members’ homes for meals or visits...to coffee shops...?

    Spread of the COVID-19 virus makes visiting the gym, and all social interactions, riskier. Many facilities have already shut down and more and more localities are taking steps to limit social inter...
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  • How can I take care of myself at home?

    If you have possible or confirmed COVID-19: Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxi...
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  • How do I prevent myself from becoming sick when taking care of someone who is already sick?

    Have the person stay in one room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible. If possible, have them use a separate bathroom. Avoid sharing personal household items, like dish...
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  • When should I wash my hands?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for when people should wash their hands, such as: Before, during, and after preparing food. Before eating food. Before and after carin...
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  • What is the best way to use hand sanitizer?

    The best technique is to apply about a dime-sized amount, and then carefully and thoroughly rub it over the palms and the back of the hands and let it dry completely. Hand sanitizer is a good way t...
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  • Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

    We are still learning about this virus, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with...
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  • If I'm an EMS worker or first responder, how can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

    Last Updated: 04/28/2020
    Persons needing 911 services or transportation to the hospital have been told to let EMS and other first responders know they have COVID-19 symptoms and to wear a mask. If they do not have a face m...
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  • Where can I find guidance on best practices to maintain the health and safety of seasonal farm workers? What rules are in place and what resources are available?

    Last Updated: 06/26/2020
    The Department of Health has created guidelines for seasonal farm labor camps, a "Quick Facts" infographic, and prevention signs on face coverings, hand cleaning, social distancing, and helpful hot...
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  • What should I do if an outbreak occurs near me?

    Just like people should prepare for hurricanes, people should be prepared in case of a pandemic. People should have a two-week supply of food, water, and necessary prescription and non-prescription...
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  • Should I get a flu shot?

    Last Updated: 08/19/2020
    Yes, the New Jersey Department of Health strongly encourages you to get a flu shot. The CDC and the Department of Health recommend everyone six months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every y...
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  • What is the State doing to protect residents and staff of nursing homes or long-term care facilities?

    Last Updated: 08/10/2020
    COVID-19 has devastated long-term care facilities and nursing homes in New Jersey and across the nation. In an effort to protect the lives of residents and staff at these facilities, the State has ...
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