Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19
It is up to all of us to protect ourselves and others by following recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. No single action on its own can completely prevent you from getting sick from COVID-19, so it is best to do multiple things to protect yourself when and where you can.
Check the CDC: COVID-19 Community Levels tool to see what is happening with COVID-19 in your area, and to determine what prevention measures are recommended for you.
At all COVID-19 community levels:
- Get vaccinated. People 6 months of age and older can get vaccinated.
- Get a booster. People age 5 and older should get a booster vaccine, if eligible. For information on when to get a booster, visit CDC: Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines.
- Get tested. It is especially important to get tested if you have symptoms or were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Learn more about when and where to test at COVID-19 Testing.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive, stay home and away from others (isolate). Learn more at If You Are Sick or Test Positive.
- If you test positive and are at high risk for severe disease, find out right away about eligibility for treatment by contacting your health care provider or visiting COVID-19 Medication. You can find information on conditions that place people at higher risk of severe disease in the people at increased risk section below and at CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions.
- Take precautions. If you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19, learn more about the precautions you should take, including how long to wear a mask at Close Contact or Exposure to COVID-19.
- Wear a well-fitting mask when recommended or required. You may also choose to wear a mask at any time based on personal preference.
- When the community level is high, everyone should wear a mask in indoor public settings.
- People who are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe illness and those who are around them should consider wearing a mask even when the community level is medium or low.
- You can always choose to wear a mask when it makes you feel safer, regardless of your individual risk or the CDC COVID-19 community level.
- Wear the most protective mask that is available to you, that fits well, and that you will wear consistently.
- To learn more about recommendations for when to wear a mask and types of masks for better protection, visit Masks: COVID-19.
- Maintain improved ventilation throughout indoor spaces when possible, including opening windows and doors. For resources on improving ventilation, refer to the safer celebrations and gatherings section below.
- Wash your hands. Learn more at Hand Hygiene.
- Clean and then disinfect surfaces. Learn more at CDC: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home.
Additional guidance can be found at CDC: Prevent Getting Sick.
Safer celebrations and gatherings
In addition to the recommendations above, consider taking the following steps to make your gatherings safer.
- Know the COVID-19 community level of where you are gathering and the recommended prevention strategies for that level.
- Gather outdoors or in an area with good ventilation. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors if possible. Learn more about how to improve airflow, ventilation, circulation, and more:
- Consider testing prior to the gathering, particularly if there will be people there who are at higher risk for severe disease.
- Consider the vaccination status of people at the gathering.
- Lay low before you go. A couple of weeks before gatherings or travel, try to avoid activities (like crowded indoor public events) where you would be more likely to be exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Travel safer. Refer to the traveling section below.
People at increased risk of severe disease and those around them
Risk of severe illness increases with age, and people of any age who have underlying medical conditions may have a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. People who are at an increased risk for severe disease include:
- People age 65 years and older.
- People who have weakened immune systems (immunocompromised).
- People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, overweight or obesity, anxiety, depression, kidney, liver, lung, and heart conditions.
- Pregnant and postpartum people.
- People with disabilities.
For more detailed information on medical conditions that place people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, visit CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions.
If you are at high risk of severe disease, CDC and MDH recommend additional steps to protect yourself.
- Visit Masks: COVID-19 for recommendations on wearing a mask even if the COVID-19 community level is medium or low.
- Have a plan for rapid testing if you develop symptoms, for example using an at-home test. It is important to test right away after symptoms start. If you test positive, contact your health care provider or go to COVID-19 Medications for information about treatment, including eligibility. Treatment should be started as soon as possible (within five to seven days depending on the medication) from the start of symptoms, even if symptoms are mild.
- People who are immunocompromised may be able to get a treatment that is given before exposure to COVID-19 to help prevent severe disease. Talk to your health care provider to learn more. For information, visit COVID-19 Medications: Evusheld (tixagevimab/cilgavimab).
- Avoid crowded spaces. When the community level is high, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public places.
- Talk to your health care provider about whether you need to take other precautions.
- If you interact with someone who is immunocompromised or at high risk of severe disease, consider getting tested before you spend time with them and wearing a mask when around them regardless of the COVID-19 community level.
People who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are at a greater risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. People who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are also at an increased risk of having a pre-term birth.
People who are pregnant and those who live with them should take steps to protect themselves from getting COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster shot when due, is strongly recommended for people who are pregnant, recently pregnant, breastfeeding, and considering pregnancy in the future. For more information on vaccination and recommended precautions, visit About COVID-19 Vaccine and CDC: Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People.
Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn could get COVID-19.
If you have COVID-19, try to find a healthy caregiver who is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and not at higher risk for severe illness to care for your newborn. If you must care for your newborn before your isolation period ends, refer to recommendations at CDC: Breastfeeding and Caring for Newborns if You Have COVID-19.
For additional guidance on staying safe while pregnant or postpartum, visit:
People with disabilities may have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID-19 and COVID-19-related complications or may have particular concerns. Visit:
For more information, visit:
- CDC: COVID-19 Information for Specific Groups of People
- Managing Chronic Conditions during COVID-19
- CDC: COVID-19 and HIV
As a result of an April 18, 2022, federal court decision, the CDC will no longer enforce its order requiring masks 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. The Department of Justice plans to appeal the court's decision. For more information, visit CDC: Requirement for Face Masks on Public Transportation Conveyances and at Transportations Hubs. Though not mandated by law, the CDC recommends people wear a mask in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, buses, ferries) and transportation hubs (such as airports, stations, and seaports). Visit CDC: Wearing Masks in Travel and Public Transportation Settings for more information.
Visit CDC: Travel for recommendations and requirements before, during, and after travel (e.g., testing, delaying travel if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, etc.).
International travel may pose additional risk. For travel recommendations and requirements for international destinations, visit CDC: COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination and U.S. Department of State: COVID-19 Travel Information. If you are a non-U.S. resident looking to travel to Minnesota, contact your country's embassy in the United States for additional guidance.
Resources include supporting mental well-being during COVID-19. If someone you know is in crisis, use Crisis Text Line by texting MN to 741741.