Wondering how you can prepare for the coronavirus but not sure where to start? Everyone in your household and even in the community has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy whether the concern is a common cold, the flu, the coronavirus, or any other disease that can be spread in any number of ways.

While the Food and Drug Administration announced that testing in the United States would be greatly expanded, health experts have been warning that the virus’s spread in the country is inevitable.

Most important: Do not panic. While the outbreak is a serious public health concern, the majority of those who contract the coronavirus do not become seriously ill, and only a small percentage require intensive care. You can help reduce your risk by being knowledgeable, following some basic steps, and doing your part to protect others in your household and in your community.

By following some basic steps, you can help reduce your risk and do your part to protect others.

How is the Coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it.

How can I help protect myself, my family, and my community?


  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Wet your hands with clean running water and then lather them with soap; don’t miss the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Dry them with a clean towel or let them air dry. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which should be rubbed in for about 20 seconds, can also work, but the gel must contain at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items. Remember, alcohol is a good disinfectant for coronaviruses so make sure to keep surfaces in your home clean. Throw out those tissues in a wastebasket after you blow your nose.
  • If someone else is showing flu- or cold-like symptoms, try to stay six feet away. If that’s not possible, even a little distancing is helpful.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community). A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. Most often, the spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). It is important that these devices are readily available to health care workers and others who need them.

In addition, it is recommended that Pennsylvanians take time to prepare now.

We will post more updates as they become available. Please check back for updates!