Protect yourself and others

Know How it Spreads

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea

Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even if they do NOT have symptoms.

Check the CDC website for the latest list of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

If your symptoms worsen, especially if you experience difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately. For more information see Sick or Exposed to COVID-19.

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Understand Your Risk

Some people in your family may need to take more steps to be better protected from COVID-19, including

People who live in congregate settings, such as a nursing home or long-term care facility are also at greater risk. 

If you are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications due to age or because you have a severe underlying medical condition, it is especially important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.

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What You Can Do

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. These simple actions will lessen your chances of catching COVID-19 and spreading it to others:

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine at any of these vaccine locations. Stay up to date with boosters, as eligible.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces and crowds
  • Put distance between yourself and other people, at least 6 feet.  
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Keep up to date on Maricopa County’s hospital admission levels and most recent recommendation on how to protect yourself our community.
  • Test for COVID-19 to prevent spread to others. 
  • Follow isolation guidance if you test positive for COVID-19.
  • Clean and disinfect your home.

When are face masks recommended?

Whether you should wear a mask when indoor or crowded public spaces depends on our current COVID Community Level. Check Maricopa County’s COVID-19 Hospital Admission Level for recommendations on when to wear a mask indoors in public and additional precautions you can take to protect yourself from COVID-19. If you are immunocompromised or more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, learn more about how to protect yourself.

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If You Don’t Have Insurance

If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath and need to see a healthcare provider, you should do so. For people who do not have insurance and need COVID-19 services, please call 602-253-0090 (AACHC), or look at the ADHS website or 211 Arizona for a community health care center to find low- or no-cost health care. Please make sure you call ahead and let them know your symptoms, so you are not putting anyone at risk.

View free community testing events »

View free community vaccination events »