Health Precautions

Watch for symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
 
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
  • Fever - greater than 99.9°F, or 37.7°C
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
 

What to do if you become ill

If you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, stay home and contact a healthcare provider for guidance—do not go to a healthcare facility before you have called your doctor or a hospital emergency room for instructions. 

  • If you are a Yale student or Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312), or Pediatrics (203-432-0206) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For urgent attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call Yale Health Acute Care (203-432-0123).
  • If you are an Aetna member or have other healthcare coverage, please contact your physician. 
  • Avoid contact with others to limit spread. 
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose. (See CDC handwashing video.) Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Facemasks are recommended for people with symptoms of respiratory infection to minimize the risk of spread of infection.

Precautions for your well-being and safety

  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (See CDC handwashing video.) Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are ill—do not go to work or classes.
  • Use cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. CDC still recommends that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people (social distancing), frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions.
  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever (99.9°F/37.8°C or higher). Watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  • If you need medical attention, stay home and call your provider before going to a healthcare facility.

Facts about COVID-19 transmission and infection

The risk of COVID-19 infection is dependent on exposure, but details about the new virus are still emerging. The most important route of transmission is likely close contact (six feet or less) with sick patients who spread respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible for someone to be infected by touching an object or surface contaminated by COVID-19 virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or potentially their eyes. The risk of spread from asymptomatic people and from touching surfaces is much lower than droplet spread from sick patients. The reported incubation period (time from exposure to the onset of symptoms) ranges from two to 14 days. 

Severity of COVID-19 infection ranges from mild to severe, but the majority of cases in China have not required hospitalization. Critical illness has developed in 15 percent of Wuhan patients and up to 3 percent are dying of the disease. Fever of >100.4° F (>38° C), cough, and shortness of breath are the most frequently reported symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms overlap with those of influenza and other respiratory infections. Therefore, the CDC has published guidelines to identify patients at risk of COVID-19 and determine when testing is necessary.