The COVID-19 coronavirus: What You Should Know

The COVID-19 coronavirus: What You Should Know


A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State health departments including the New Hampshire (NH) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services' (DPHS), and City of Dover emergency management and health officials continue to monitor the situation. 

Call 2-1-1 for questions and concerns about coronavirus

Gov. Chris Sununu, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management, announced that 211NH will serve as a coordinated and streamlined process for all COVID-19 related calls from New Hampshire residents. All residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 can call 2-1-1.

As federal, state and local officials continue to monitor cases of COVID-19, a coronavirus first detected in China, residents are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from all respiratory viruses.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, but only several types are known to commonly cause infections in people, with these common human coronaviruses usually causing mild to moderate respiratory illness (like the common cold). Newer human coronaviruses, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms. The COVID-19 is originally thought to have spread from animals to humans, but person-to-person spread is widespread.

How is it spread?

COVID-19 is thought to spread from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet);
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

The virus may be spread in other ways:

  • By touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

This is similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. The more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

What are the symptoms?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

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

If you have traveled to/from countries with a COVID-19 Travel Advisory and develop symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness within 14 days of your travel, contact your health care provider before going to their office or the emergency department, and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms. You can also contact the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496, if you have questions or concerns.

For the latest travel information and advisories, visit the CDC website:

How can I protect myself and others?

There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick from viral respiratory infections, and help prevent transmitting infections to others, including:

  • Get vaccinated for COVID-19. Vaccines are very effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19 and may prevent you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
  • Avoid close contact. When outside your home put 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) distance between yourself and people who you do not live with. This is known as social distancing.
  • If you are not vaccinated, cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. Masks should be worn any time you are traveling on a plane, bus, train, or other form of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you have a fever or are not feeling well.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot - it is not too late to be protected from flu.

Is there a treatment?

There are no specific antiviral treatments recommended for infection with the COVID-19. People infected with COVID-19 can receive supportive care at home to help relieve symptoms, such as taking pain or fever medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying home and resting. Some patients who are very sick may need to go to the hospital to get care.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately.

Do I Need To Quarantine After Being Exposed to COVID-19?

Yes! If you have been identified as a close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, then you are at risk of developing COVID-19 sometime in the next 2-14 days, so you need to follow these guidelines:

  • Stay home (quarantine) for 10 days after you were last exposed to a person with COVID-19.
  • Get tested 5-7 days after your exposure.
  • Monitor for symptoms (see list above).
  • Take care of yourself and reach out to your healthcare provider or seek emergency treatment if you have any concerns about your health.

You do NOT need to stay home (quarantine) for 10 days or get tested for COVID-19 if either of the following apply:

  • You are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 14 days have passed since you received the second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You have previously tested positive for active COVID-19 infection (by PCR or antigen testing) in the last 90 days (if you had a previous infection that was more than 90 days ago, then you still need to follow all of these guidelines).

However, you still need to monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, practice social distancing, avoid social and other group gatherings, always wear a face mask when around other people, and practice good hand hygiene at all times.

Learn more: DHHS Self Quarantine Guide

When can I be vaccinated?

Anyone 12+ years old can register for a COVID-19 vaccine, including people from out-of-state and foreign nationals. Vaccines are provided at no cost.

Vaccination Phases

Where will I be able to get the vaccine?

Vaccines are readily available at your local pharmacy and should soon be available through your health care provider. Please speak with your health care provider if you have questions. 

To learn more, review the NH COVID-19 Vaccination Planning Frequently Asked Questions

Have you been fully vaccinated?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • Two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine 
If it has been less than two weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.

What can you start to do when fully vaccinated?

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
    • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you've been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

    What should you keep doing when fully vaccinated?

    • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
    • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
    • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
    • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

    About the US COVID-19 Vaccination Program

    Here are 8 things you need to know about the new COVID-19 Vaccination Program and COVID-19 vaccines:

    • The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.
    • COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. One dose is needed for the J&J Janssen vaccine.
    • After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.
    • Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • The first COVID-19 vaccines are being used under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested.
    • COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic.

    To learn more, visit the CDC vaccine website.

    Additional resources

    The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website provides updated information about the state's response to COVID-19. The page can be accessed at:

    Additional information, including advisories for travel, businesses and schools, can be found at the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 page at:

    The Dover School District also provides updates about COVID-19 and the response by school officials here.