CORRECTED: A message from DC FEMS about coronavirus (COVID-19)

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The following message contains corrections and clarifications to the message you received earlier today.

You’ve probably heard about coronavirus (COVID-19) in the news. Below are some tips for protecting yourself and next steps you should take if you feel sick or if you are concerned that you could have been exposed to the coronavirus.

To protect yourself:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when feeling sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The health risk remains low for most people, and the District continues to be very focused on prevention. The symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms or are concerned that you have been exposed to coronavirus, you should:

  • Follow the precautions listed above to protect yourself and those around you.
  • Stay home from work or school.
  • Call your healthcare provider before visiting a healthcare facility.

The District’s emergency rooms are crowded, and we want to preserve our emergency resources for those patients with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. For most cold or flu symptoms, patients recover within a few days without specific treatment.

Only call 911 for serious or life-threatening emergencies, for example, if you are unable to breath, are experiencing fainting or dizziness, bleeding that will not stop, severe or persistent vomiting, sudden and sever pain anywhere in the body, or a serious medical emergency like signs of a heart attack.  

If you have chronic lung disease such as COPD, emphysema or are on home oxygen you should call your doctor’s office if you develop a common cold illness, worsening cough or bronchitis lasting more than a day or two.

For more information on the District’s COVID-19 response, visit