Understanding COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses – including the common cold – that infects both people and animals. A new (or novel) coronavirus strand recently appeared and is now causing the respiratory disease known as COVID-19. COVID-19 has spread worldwide and is infecting individuals here in Virginia

It’s important to stay informed about COVID-19 so that you are prepared to keep yourself and those around you healthy and safe.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid exposure. You can help protect yourself from exposure by washing your hands often and staying home as much as possible. If you need to leave home for an essential need, wear a face-covering and be sure to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet from other people.  Learn more about prevention and what you can do to stay safe and help protect those around you.

How it spreads

Since COVID-19 is new, researchers are still learning more about how it spreads. We do know that COVID-19 is mainly spread person-to-person, and that it spreads very easily. Learn more about how the virus spreads.

Risk factors

Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some cases with no reported symptoms), to severe cases that have resulted in death. However, some individuals are more at risk of developing severe cases than others. Learn more about risk factors and what to do if you’re at risk.


Patients with COVID-19 have mild to severe respiratory illness that can be accompanied by a fever, a cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 14 days after exposure. Learn more about the symptoms.