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The COVID-19 virus spreads easily through respiratory droplets, such as when a person sick with the virus coughs or sneezes near another person.

It may also be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, although this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Loss of smell/taste
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat


  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, scrubbing for a least 20 seconds and then rinsing thoroughly. If soap and water are not available to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and then throw the tissue in the trash before washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you touch frequently like door handles, cell phones, tablets, and computers.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick or who may be sick with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Stay home when you can to lower the probability of getting the virus or potentially spreading it to others
  • If you must go out, avoid crowds and keep at least 6 feet away from people outside of your home while practicing social distancing.
  • Get vaccinated when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to you.

Public resources

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly, and we recommend that patients monitor information:

You also can call the Massachusetts COVID-19 hotline for information by dialing 211, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Massachusetts residents also can subscribe to real-time COVID-19 notifications from public health officials by texting the keyword "COVIDMA" to 888-777.

Updated June 22, 2021