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.

Latest COVID-19 News and Updates

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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Travel and COVID-19

Travel during a global pandemic can be a daunting prospect. Here are some resources that will help you prepare for your trip.

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To Mask or Not to Mask?

Now that COVID-19 cases have declined since this winter’s Omicron surge, the choice isn’t always obvious. Here are some tips from CDC to help you make an informed decision.

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3/17/22 | Health Officials Emphasize Continued Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination, Boosters, and Testing

March 17, 2022 (Barnstable, MA) – While Barnstable County continues to experience an overall decline in COVID-19 case numbers as reported by the MA Department of Public Health, officials advise that […]

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