COVID-19: Unite to stop the spread

Contact COVID-19 hotline

Call for help understanding coronavirus and the response in Georgia.

Georgia Hotline:

Governor Brian Kemp is calling on Georgians to stop the spread of COVID-19. All residents and visitors of Georgia must follow public health guidance provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Protect yourself and others by staying home as often as possible, wearing a mask or cloth face covering, washing your hands, and staying physically distant. You must follow this guidance even if you feel fine. Many carriers of the virus don’t show any symptoms for some time, if at all. All Georgians must stay united in this fight. Together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our state.

Shelter in Place

Applies to people at higher risk for severe illness.

Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered Georgia residents and visitors at higher risk for severe illness to continue to shelter in place until at least September 30. Failure to comply with executive orders is a misdemeanor offense. This includes Georgians who live in a long-term care facility, have chronic lung disease, or are undergoing cancer treatment.

If anyone in your household is at higher risk for severe illness from the virus, all members of the household should behave as if they share the same risk factors to avoid introducing the virus into the home. If you are caring for someone who is sick in your home, take the appropriate steps to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of your household.

You should think of your entire household as a single unit. If one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the home is at risk. That means you should strictly adhere to the CDC's isolation and quarantine guidelines.

Cloth Face Coverings

Applies to everyone.

All Georgia residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable while outside their home or place of residents, except when eating, drinking, or exercising outdoors. Local governments are allowed to require face coverings, with limitations.

When you leave your home, wear cloth face coverings wherever and whenever practicable. Covering your nose and mouth greatly reduces your chances of spreading the virus and provides some protection for the wearer. Use face coverings if you'll be indoors or around other people where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. The recommended cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies used by healthcare workers and other medical first responders. When wearing a mask, try not to touch your face without first washing your hands. Follow CDC guidance on cloth face coverings.

Wash Your Hands

Applies to everyone.

No other measure is as effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19 than washing your hands with regular soap and water for 20 seconds. It can take that long for the soap to break down the virus particles on your hands. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer liberally if soap and water are unavailable. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Follow these handwashing tips.

Social Distancing

Applies to everyone.

The state is asking every Georgian to limit person-to-person contact until the pandemic is over. Social distancing is not about us as individuals; it’s about all Georgians working in unison to slow the spread of the virus so our hospitals aren't overwhelmed by a surge of critically ill patients.

So, what does social distancing mean?

  • Stay at least 6 feet apart. Avoid public spaces where close contact with others may occur. The most common way the virus spreads is by unseen droplets in the air when an infected person breathes out. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs. The droplets land on surfaces, which we then touch, so frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is advised.
  • Limit your outings. To help protect the health of Georgia’s residents and businesses, you should stay home as much as possible and take every precaution to limit social interaction. If you leave your home, you must follow the CDC’s social distancing, sanitation, and public health safety measures. This will help us maintain the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19 and prevent our hospitals and health care facilities from being overwhelmed.
  • Protect your household. If anyone in your household is at higher risk for severe illness from the virus, all members of the household should behave as if they share the same risk factors to avoid introducing the virus into the home. You should think of your entire household as a single unit. If one person puts themselves at risk, everyone in the home is at risk. That means you should strictly adhere to the CDC's isolation and quarantine guidelines.

Isolation and Quarantine

Applies to ill and exposed people.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 infection or if you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, you must follow the Georgia Department of Public Health's home isolation instructions. Failure to comply with executive orders is a misdemeanor offense. The state requires:

  • People with a positive COVID-19 lab-confirmed test or those with symptoms and suspected of having the virus to isolate themselves until they are no longer a risk of infection to the public.
  • People who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 whether or not they have symptoms to remain at home or a quarantine location for 14 days from the last known exposure.
  • People in quarantine to monitor their symptoms and seek medical attention if they develop worsening symptoms.
  • Isolated people to participate in the DPH contact tracing program.

Clean, Disinfect, and Learn to Cope

Applies to everyone.

The most common way the virus spreads is by unseen droplets in the air when an infected person breathes out. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. The droplets land on surfaces, which we then touch, so frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is advised.

The virus is invisible but can stay alive and infectious for hours or even days on many common surfaces. Nearly every type of surface can host coronavirus particles for some length of time, so it’s smart to develop a sanitizing routine every time you come and go from your home or bring in items from the outside. Knowing that you have done your best can not only reduce your stress through gaining control, it can greatly reduce your risk of infection.

  • Wash your hands often. No other measure is as effective in stopping the spread than washing your hands with regular soap and water for 20 seconds. It can take that long for the soap to break down the virus particles on your hands. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer liberally if soap and water are unavailable. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. More handwashing tips.
  • Wipe down frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, countertops, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Use a diluted bleach solution, alcohol solution or a household disinfectant product. Complete disinfection guidance.
  • Manage fear and anxiety. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Nearly every human being on the planet is experiencing change in their lives from this pandemic. Try to focus on what you have control over — your activities and cleaning rituals. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make our communities stronger. Support resources and hotlines.

The number of Americans infected with COVID-19 grows every day. With your help, let's stop the spread.

Health Information

Get the latest health updates and guidelines on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from the Georgia Department of Public Health.