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What is COVID-19 ("Coronavirus")?

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease spreading globally and now in the United States. The outbreak in the U.S. is an evolving situation and while the immediate risk to the general public is low, it's important to prepare for the potential spread of the virus and take precautionary measures to ensure you and your family stay well.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person Spread
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Shortness of breath

Loss of Taste/Smell

For a complete list of symptoms, visit

When to Seek Medical Care?

Some of the most common symptoms of coronavirus are many of the same symptoms of the common cold or flu - fever, cough and shortness of breath. So, it could be difficult to determine at what point to seek medical care. As concern around the outbreak grows, review these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you suspect you may be infected:

Monitor your symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g. difficulty breathing). BEFORE seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility (your doctor's office may be able to provide one to you). These steps will help the health care provider's office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.
Calling 911. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

How can COVID-19 spread be prevented?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. We recommend following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for prevention:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Follow CDC recommendations for using a facemask. Kentucky Mandatory Masking Information
The CDC does now recommends that people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. For information about proper hand washing, see the CDC's Hand Washing



  • ​Isolation is when a person tests positive for the virus. They are required to isolate at home for a period of time to contain the spread of the virus.

  • Quarantine is when a person has been exposed to someone that has tested positive. They are quarantined at home for a period of time to ensure that they do not become positive and infect others.

An isolation/quarantine timeline is determined based on certain factors. This method, although functional, is not a perfect system. Furthermore, each case is different and certain considerations can cause variations. Not every isolation/quarantine experience will be the same. However, the outcome will assist in decreasing community spread which is the ultimate goal.

The Grayson County Health Department follows measures implemented by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. These measures are set by the state of Kentucky; the local health department does not determine what the measures contain or require. GCHD simply enforces them as required by KDPH. 

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has employed local contact tracers to help assist in issuing isolation/quarantine orders. These individuals refer to KDPH guidance when calculating isolation/quarantine timelines. In the past, KDPH guidance has changed. More recently, KDPH has redefined what workers are essential. Furthermore, KDPH continues to refer to CDC guidelines which have changed. 

All guidelines are fluid. The Grayson County Health Department works to implement new guidance as quickly as possible when we are made aware of such changes. 

Guidance for isolation as outlined by the Kentucky Department for Public Health - Click Here

12/3/2020 - New Guidance for Quarantine

Guidance on Critical Infrastructure / Essential Worker Terminology

Released by the Kentucky Department for Public Health on 9-10-2020

To clarify status of critical infrastructure/essential workers and their ability to work during the COVID-19 response.
Kentucky Department for Public Health Guidance:
During a worldwide pandemic, defining specific groups that may or may not continue their work is a difficult decision.  The original intention of CISA (Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response) was to ensure that society would have essential services, including provision of food, water, housing and healthcare.  Kentucky is not now in the same situation it faced in March/April. All industries have been permitted to reopen, albeit at reduced capacities. As such, quarantine of persons with high-risk exposures has become even more, not less, important to minimize the spread of contagion.


Although all jobs are “essential” to a healthy, functioning society, in the face of an ongoing infectious disease pandemic, the greater good of society is to minimize risk in order to protect the vulnerable and at-risk populations within the community.  Therefore, the Kentucky Department for Public Health has made a determination that healthcare workers and first responders alone fall into the category of Critical workers who may be exempt from specific quarantine if exposed to a confirmed case.  All other workers who might be exposed to cases of COVID-19 are assessed by public health staff to determine the necessity of quarantine and the terms of that quarantine. Thus, determination of quarantine does not depend on job title, but on assessment of the risk of exposure to oneself as well as the risk one might pose to others who are vulnerable in their community.

A public health emergency creates a need to transition from an individual focus to a population-based approach, meaning that we implement measures that strive to protect the greatest number of individuals from sickness and death.


In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability.

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Grayson County Health Department is an equal-opportunity employer. 

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