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Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19
On this page:
Safer celebrations and gatherings
People at increased risk of severe disease and those around them
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 by County tool to see what is happening with COVID-19 community levels in your area, and to help determine what prevention measures are recommended for you. If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19, the CDC gives more protective recommendations for you.
At all COVID-19 community levels:
- Get vaccinated. People 6 months of age and older can get vaccinated.
- Get a booster. People 6 months of age and older should also get an updated (bivalent) booster vaccine, if eligible. For information on when to get a booster, visit CDC: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters.
- If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, wear a mask for 10 days following the close contact. Learn about masking, testing, and other recommended precautions at Close Contact or Exposure to COVID-19.
- 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.
- Wear a well-fitting mask when recommended or required. You can also choose to wear a mask when it makes you feel safer, regardless of your individual risk or the CDC COVID-19 community level.
- 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 should wear a mask indoors in public when the community level is medium and may want to consider wearing a mask at the medium community level in crowded outdoor settings. They also should consider wearing a mask in public settings even when the community level is low.
- If you are around someone who is immunocompromised or at high risk of severe illness, consider wearing a mask to protect them, regardless of the community level.
- Wear the most protective mask or respirator 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 disinfect surfaces when recommended. Learn more at CDC: Clean and Disinfect at Home.
Additional guidance can be found at CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others.
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.
- 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.
- 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, filtration, and more:
- Test on the day of an indoor gathering or event, as close to the time of the event as possible, especially if you will be around people who are immunocompromised, at higher risk of severe disease, or older adults. You should not attend any gathering if you have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of the test result.
- Test immediately if you get symptoms following any event. If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19, test five full days after the event (test on day six). Learn what to do if you have symptoms, visit If You Are Sick or Test Positive: COVID-19. To learn what to do if you are exposed visit Close Contact or Exposure to COVID-19.
- Travel safer. Refer to the travel 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 a self-test at home. It is important to test right away after symptoms start. If your test is positive, contact your health care provider or go to COVID-19 Medications for information about treatment, even if your symptoms are mild. Treatment should be started as soon as possible (within five to seven days, depending on the medication) from the start of symptoms.
- Avoid crowded spaces. When the community level is high, consider avoiding nonessential 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.
You can build your personal COVID-19 plan, so you have all the information you need if you get sick. Download the plan at CDC: COVID-19 Plan.
People who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are at a greater risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 compared to nonpregnant people. People who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are also at an increased risk of having a preterm 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 Breastfeeding During the Current Health Crisis.
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:
At all community levels, CDC recommends wearing a high-quality mask or respirator on public transportation (examples: airplane, train, and bus), and in transportation hubs (examples: an airport, train station, and bus station). Visit CDC: Wearing Masks in Travel and Public Transportation Settings for more information. The CDC's Travel webpage provides additional recommendations and requirements (e.g., testing, when to delay travel, and more) for before, during, and after travel.
International travel may pose additional risk. For travel recommendations and requirements for international destinations, visit CDC: International Travel to and from the United States and the 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 the Crisis Text Line by texting MN to 741741.