Coronavirus (COVID-19) – General Guidance

Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


What is a coronavirus?

There are several different types of coronavirus. Human coronaviruses typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory illnesses, like the common cold. Symptoms usually include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and/or a general feeling of being unwell. Most people get infected with a coronavirus at least once in their life. 

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a type of coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. The first documented case of COVID-19 in the United States occurred on January 20, 2020, and the first case in Kentucky was recorded on March 6, 2020. 

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

At this time, individuals who are at risk for coronavirus include are those who have had close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19.

According to the CDC, certain populations are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19. These populations include:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and lung disease.

If you are at higher risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies, such as food and any medications you take. Pharmacists in Kentucky can now dispense emergency refills of up to a 30-day supply of any non-controlled medication for Kentucky residents.
  • Stay away from others who are sick, limit close contact with others and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid flying or taking cruises.

What can you do to prevent getting sick?

It is highly important to remain vigilant against the spread of infectious diseases. In order to prevent getting sick, the following is recommended:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask or cloth face covering anytime you leave your home.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when you shop, pick up food or do errands.
  • Be alert for symptoms of COVID-19 and talk with your doctor if you or a family member develops symptoms.
  • Stay home when you feel sick.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Properly cover your sneeze and cough with a tissue, then throw away the used tissue.
  • Frequently disinfect objects and surfaces with a cleaner that you typically use.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

What to do if you are sick with COVID-19, or think you may have COVID-19:

These instructions apply to individuals who have received a positive COVID-19 test result, are
waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, or have been told by their health care provider that they
have COVID-19. Click here.

High-Risk Populations

Certain populations have been identified as being at higher risk for getting very sick from Coronavirus
Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This includes:

  • Persons of ANY AGE with certain underlying medical conditions, such as chronic kidney disease,
    COPD, immunocompromised from solid organ transplant, obesity, serious heart conditions, sickle
    cell disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Children who are medically fragile
  • Women who are pregnant and those with other medical conditions may be at an increased risk for
    severe illness
  • Senior citizens

To view the full document, please click here.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing is one of the tools we have to prevent the spread of illness, such as COVID-19. It means limiting our activities to only what is essential and putting space between us and others. The Governor’s Office and the Ky. Department for Public Health have issued guidance and orders to promote social distancing, as well as promote safe reopening of the economy. More details can be found here:

What should you do if you think you may have COVID-19?

If you have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing. If you develop symptoms, avoid contact with others, and call your doctor or healthcare provider. Tell them about your symptoms and recent travel history. They will provide you further instruction. Do NOT travel if you are sick. 

How is NKY Health addressing COVID-19?

NKY Health has been actively responding to the COVID-19 crisis for over a year. We continue to provide guidance and collaborate with local officials, health care providers, first responders, schools, businesses, social service agencies, and others, as well as respond to a high volume of questions from the public. We are also coordinating the distribution of personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile to health care providers and first responders.

Dealing with Anxiety About COVID-19

  • Stay informed with reliable sources, but don’t overwhelm yourself – limit yourself on how much news you read/hear.
  • Take a break from social media about COVID-19, especially the rumors and misinformation.
  • Try to keep routines in your lives as much as possible.
  • Take care of yourself, and stay healthy. Take your medication, eat a healthy diet and exercise. Outdoor activities are great now that spring is almost here. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
  • Find ways to relieve your stress. Take up a new hobby, and find enjoyable activities to help you relax.
  • Maintain social distancing, but at the same time maintain social connectedness. Connect virtually with friends and families.

How to Help Children Dealing with Anxiety About COVID-19:

  • Take care of yourself first.
  • Provide an open, calm and reassuring environment.
  • Make sure children feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Answer calmly, and model behaviors to them to stay safe – hand washing, hygiene, etc.
  • Provide quality information. Don’t mislead or lie to children.
  • Provide routines for children.
  • Limit children’s social media time.
  • If they don’t want to talk about COVID-19 or how they’re feeling, don’t force them.
  • While maintaining social distance, have children interact electronically with friends.

Downloads and Resources

For more information on Coronavirus Disease 2019, please visit

You can also call Kentucky’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-722-5725.

Download COVID-19 flyers and other resources here.