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What is COVID-19

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. 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.

Covid 19
Young Doctor

Signs & Symptoms

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Infected people have had a wide range of symptoms reported – from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea


Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion

  • Inability to wake or stay awake

  • Bluish lips or face

Slowing the Spread

Know how it spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Everyone Should

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • It’s especially important to wash:

    • Before eating or preparing food

    • Before touching your face

    • After using the restroom

    • After leaving a public place

    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

    • After handling your mask

    • After changing a diaper

    • After caring for someone sick

    • After touching animals or pets

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact


Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.

  • The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

  • Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

    • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.


Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.

  • Throw used tissues in the trash.

  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


Clean and disinfect

People with Masks
Silicon Valley Strong

Give Help

Silicon Valley Strong is collaborating with the community as we come together to help everyone who is struggling during these difficult times.

You, and your family, can join in helping others in need in many different ways.

For more information visit:

Researching and Writing

COVID-19 Resource List

Additional information and resources are also available on-line at Silicon Valley Strong:

Financial Resources

Food & Meal Assistance

  • The Health Trust Meals on Wheels delivers hot, nutritious meals five days a week, sometimes with the option of a once-a-week frozen meal, to seniors and adults with disabilities. Drivers also provide daily wellness checks.

  • Second Harvest Food Bank can help families secure food during these difficult times.  If you need food, call 800.984.3663 


  • The  San Jose Public Library eLibrary card provides residents and City employees, who don't already have a library membership, with a library card that will provide instant access to eBooks, eMedia, online learning, including, for free.  Get a SJPL eLibrary card by visiting


  • The County of Santa Clara is making COVID-19 testing fast and free. Protect yourself and your family by scheduling a test at one of our drive thru test sites throughout Santa Clara County. Anyone can be tested, there are no requirements for testing criteria, insurance, or immigration status.

Mental Health Services

Changes to routine can be difficult for anyone, including older adults. Feeling overwhelmed from these changes is common. This “new normal” can be challenging to navigate and can bring about added feelings of anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.

  • Reach out to the County of Santa Clara Suicide and Crisis Hotline. Call (855) 278-4204 and speak to a trained crisis counseling volunteer in any language. The line is available 24/7.

  • If you can't or don't want to talk on the phone, a text option is available: Text RENEW to 741741 to access volunteer crisis counselors (free, 24/7). Service available in English only.

  • Call the Friendship Line at (415) 750-4111. The Friendship Line is both a crisis intervention hotline and a warmline for non-emergency emotional support calls.

  • Talk to someone at the Trevor Project by calling (866) 488-7386 or texting START to 678678. The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

  • Find the right help for you through the County Mental Health Services Call Center. Dial (800) 704-0900 and Call Center Staff can help you if you’re in crisis by directing you to the right services to best serve you in the moment.

  • Call Uplift Family Services at (408) 379-9085 when a child or teen is in immediate crisis, including facing possible hospitalization. Uplift can help with a range of services to provide swift care and safety. They provide an immediate response and deliver crisis intervention services.

  • Contact Mobile Crisis Response at (800) 704-0900 and select option #2. The Mobile Crisis Response Team​ (MCRT) can provide consult and intervene wherever the crisis is occurring in the community. The service operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM.​

Non-profits & Community-based Organizations

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