Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The first case of COVID-19 was reported Dec. 1, 2019, and the cause was a then-new coronavirus later named SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 may have originated in an animal and changed (mutated) so it could cause illness in humans. In the past, several infectious disease outbreaks have been traced to viruses originating in birds, pigs, bats and other animals that mutated to become dangerous to humans. Research continues, and more study may reveal how and why the coronavirus evolved to cause pandemic disease.

Most people infected with the virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention. Older people and those with underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, or cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. Anyone can get sick with COVID-19 and become seriously ill or die at any age.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the disease and how the virus spreads. Be aware of your COVID-19 Community Level and the associated prevention steps. If the situation warrants, protect yourself and others from infection by social distancing, wearing a properly fitted mask, and washing your hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently. Stay up-to-date on your vaccines and follow local guidance.

The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols. It is important to practice respiratory etiquette, for example by coughing into a flexed elbow, and to stay home and self-isolate until you recover if you feel unwell. Get tested as soon as possible when symptoms occur to determine whether you are infected with COVID-19.

Have questions about COVID-19 or monkeypox? Call our Community Health Helpline at (774) 330-3001 to leave a message and receive a call back from one of our trained staff members!

Latest COVID-19 News and Updates

CDC Recommends the First Updated COVID-19 Booster

September 1, 2022 | Today, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech […]

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CommonHealth: Barnstable County’s Interim Public Health Nurse Maurice Melchiono discusses COVID in the new school year

By Gabrielle Emanuel, WBUR Health Reporter How should we be thinking about COVID as we head into a new school year? Universal mask requirements, “test-to-stay” policies and contact tracing are […]

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CDC streamlines COVID-19 guidance to help the public better protect themselves and understand their risk

8/11/2022 | CDC is streamlining its COVID-19 guidance to help people better understand their risk, how to protect themselves and others, what actions to take if exposed to COVID-19, and […]

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FDA Authorizes Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Down to 6 Months of Age

June 17, 2022 | The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include […]

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COVID-19: What’s next?

Barnstable County officials are often asked about COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations now that the country is transitioning from pandemic response to pandemic adaptation. COVID-19 cases are currently surging in our […]

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Community Health Newsletter

COVID-19: Where are we now and where are we going? No matter what, we will THRIVE.

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