COVID-19 Spread, Symptoms & What to Do if a Family Member is Sick

Although Minnesota’s stay-at-home order has ended, this does not mean the virus is no longer a risk. It is still important to be cautious and take action to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Keep reading to learn more about the spread of COVID-19 and what you can do to continue helping our community fight this dangerous virus!

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of coronavirus may start to appear 2-14 days after exposure and include: 

  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing 
  • Fever 
  • Chills 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Sore throat 
  • New loss of taste or smell 

Although this list does not include every possible symptom of COVID-19, these are the most common. Also, it is possible to be infected with the virus without showing any symptomsThis is why it is important to minimize close contact with other people. You could be able to infect others without even realizing it. 

How does COVID-19 spread? 

The virus spreads primarily from person to person, when people are in close contact with one another. This is because a person who is infected spreads aerosols (infectious viral particles that can remain in the air for up to three hours) when they talk or breathe. A healthy person could then breathe in those particles and become infected themselves. 

Along with airborne transmission, the virus can also be spread through contact with infected objects or surfaces. If an infected person touches a surface or object, such as a table or a cell phone, a healthy person might touch the same thing and then touch their own face, which could lead to them becoming infected. Touching a person who is infected can also spread the virus.  

What should I do if someone in my family has COVID-19? 

If you are caring for a family member with COVID-19, help them follow their doctor’s instructions and provide support to meet their basic needs. This could include giving them over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), making sure they are drinking lots of water and resting, and helping them with grocery shopping. 

Continue to watch for warning signs. Call their doctor if they are getting sicker, and for medical emergencies call 911 and tell the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19 

It is also important to protect yourself when you are caring for a family member with COVID-19. Those who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should not act as caregivers for someone with the virus. If possible, make sure the person who is sick stays and eats in a separate room and uses a separate bathroom from those who are healthy.  

However, if you do have to share space with someone who is sick, make sure the room has good airflow by turning on a fan or opening a window. Also, avoid having unnecessary visitors when someone in your household is sick. 

The person who is sick should wear a cloth face covering when they are around people at home and at the doctor’s office, unless they are having difficulty breathing. Everyone in the house should wash their hands frequently, and caregivers should clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces and items every day. Here are a few examples of household items that should be disinfected daily: 

  • Tables 
  • Doorknobs 
  • Light switches 
  • Handles 
  • Desks 
  • Toilets 
  • Faucets 
  • Sinks 
  • Electronics 

The CDC also offers advice on how to handle sharing a bathroom, washing and drying laundry, and taking out the trash when someone in your family is sick with COVID-19. Continue to track your own health and symptoms as well, if you are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. People who have been sick should not leave their homes unless  

  1. They have not had a fever for three whole days (without medicine) 
  2. Symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath have improved 
  3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

Stay safe!

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