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

Your Winter Wellness Routine Needs This One Important Thing

Before you get that scratchy feeling in your throat, there ARE some things you can do to boost your immune system’s ability to keep you feeling healthy this winter. Some of these winter wellness tips might feel like advice you’ve heard before, but that’s because they’re proven ways to keep your immune system healthy. 

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Staying Healthy This Winter: 10 Questions, Answered

COVID lingers, flu season is at hand and germs are everywhere. Here’s how you can reduce your risk.

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Now Available: Easy, Free Care for COVID-19

Request a virtual visit with a clinician to see if Paxlovid or Molnupiravir is right for you. Paxlovid and Molnupiravir are pills that can help treat COVID-19. If it’s right […]

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Public Health Nursing Division to Offer COVID-19/Flu Vaccine Clinic on 12/14

IT’S NOT TOO LATE! Give yourself and your family members the gift of vaccine protection this holiday season! Our Public Health Nursing Division is holding a COVID-19 / flu vaccine […]

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Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics Warn of Increases in Respiratory Viruses this Season

In early November, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MADPH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a joint letter warning families of an early uptick in the incidence […]

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Resources for FREE COVID-19 Home Tests on Cape Cod

Updated 12/18/22 If you have insurance, use it! Individuals and families WITH insurance are strongly encouraged to access free test kits through their insurance provider. In many cases, commercial insurance […]

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