2019 Novel Coronavirus
Learn about COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) -- symptoms, prevention, testing, treatment, and other health concerns -- here. We will continue to update this page as information becomes available. The following are sources for up-to-date, factual, trustworthy information about the virus from experts:
NEW: COVID-19 Vaccinations
COVID-19 vaccines are now available; however, quantities are limited. Until vaccines can be produced in large quantities, it will be first be given to priority groups of people in designated phases. Find more information here.
If you have been identified as having been in close contact with someone who has Covid-19, you will be contacted by someone from the Health Department or a trained contact tracer. The contact tracer will ask you to stay at home and self quarantine for a given time period based on your exposure. Help keep our community safe by answering the call if you are contacted.
COVID Alert NJ is New Jersey’s free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app also provides users with up-to-date information on New Jersey reopening news, key COVID-19 metrics, and a user-friendly symptom tracking tool.
Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself and others is by observing the following behaviors:
- Social distancing: Maintain a space of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Stay home as much as possible and do not congregate in groups, at events, etc.
- Frequent hand washing: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure to thoroughly clean your hands. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth/nose when you cough/sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Immediately discard the tissue.
The CDC’s latest recommendations encourage use of a cloth face covering when going out in public on essential trips. This helps protect others with whom you might come into contact. Find out how to wear a cloth face covering effectively, how to make one, how to clean it, and answers to more questions here.
- Please keep in mind that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Surgical masks and N-95 respirators are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Read more from the CDC about symptoms and when to seek medical attention here.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you are sick, the CDC and NJ Department of Health recommend that you stay home and self-isolate, wear a mask around others, call ahead to seek medical attention, monitor your symptoms, and continue to thoroughly and frequently wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes. Read the fact sheets below for more information.
The CDC’s Coronavirus page now has a Coronavirus Self-Checker tool for those who think they might be sick. Visit this page and click on SELF-CHECKER to begin. A pop-up window will then guide you through a series of questions. Please note that the purpose of the Coronavirus Self-Checker is to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care. This system is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19.
See the CDC’s recommendations for who should be tested, how to get tested, and what to do after you are tested.
Essex County operates a drive-through COVID-19 testing site for Essex County residents only at Weequahic Park in Newark, and satellite sites have now been added. Appointments are required, and a limited number of appointments are available each day it is open. Visit www.EssexCOVID.org or call 973-324-9950 to learn more and make an appointment.
Additional places to get tested:
- NJ Testing Centers - NJDOH
- Testing Sites in Essex County (PDF)
- Testing and Treatment for Uninsured/Underinsured
Antibody Testing and Plasma Donation
- Information from the NJDOH: Antibody Testing (PDF)
- Convalescent plasma donation from recovered COVID-19 cases: Plasma Donation Locations (PDF)
From the CDC: COVID-19 and Pets (PDF)
Running Essential Errands
From the CDC: Protecting Yourself when Running Errands
College Students and Returning Home for Winter Break
Guidance from New Jersey Department of Health Guidance for College Students
Celebrating the Holidays Safely
Guidance from the CDC: Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings
- From the CDC: Guidance for Travelers
- From NJ’s COVID-19 Information Hub: Which states are on the travel advisory list? Are there travel restrictions to or from New Jersey?
Questions? Call or Text
We encourage residents to call the NJ COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-962-1253 or text using one of the methods below if they have general questions about novel coronavirus. The hotline is open 24/7 and has multi-language capacity. Callers who need medical advice should contact their health care provider.
The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State to provide information to the Public on COVID-19:
- Call: 2-1-1
- Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
- Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
- Text: your zip code to 898-211 for live text assistance
You might also find answers to your questions here: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (CDC)