Person wearing a face mask outdoors

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Now that widespread vaccination is available, our communities are starting to return to pre-pandemic activities. It’s important to understand that COVID-19 is still present and still poses a risk, especially to those who aren’t vaccinated.

To get information that's specific to your area, select your state or region below.

           

Share your symptoms online and get guidance for care. 


           

Get answers to questions about diagnostic and antibody testing.


           

Learn about safety, effectiveness, and where you can get vaccinated.

          


What to know about COVID-19

What are the symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath — similar to the flu. They've also experienced chills or shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of sense of smell or taste. While information indicates that most cases are mild, symptoms appear to be more severe in the elderly and people with chronic conditions.

Watch this video to learn more about common symptoms of COVID-19.

Who’s eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

All people 12 and up are now eligible.

Who is at higher risk for COVID-19?

COVID-19 causes a mild illness in many people. But some people have an increased risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 and may need to take extra precautions to avoid infection.

You may be at high risk if you:

Visit CDC.gov for a full list of people at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you’re pregnant, learn more about how the virus could affect you or your care at kp.org/maternity-covid

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 — such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath — call your doctor.

Choosing to get vaccinated is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19. Kaiser Permanente advises everyone 12 years and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Until then, those who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear a quality, well-fitting mask in public places.

What are the different types of COVID-19 tests?

There are 2 different kinds of clinical tests available. One shows if you’re currently infected with a virus (diagnostic testing) and the other helps you understand if you’ve been infected in the recent past with a virus (antibody testing).  

  • Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 tells you if you’re infected right now. It’s done by collecting fluid from your nose, throat, or lungs. If the test shows you’re infected, you should isolate to help prevent spread. Testing also helps public health agencies monitor the spread of the disease. 
  • Antibody testing checks for antibodies in your blood from a prior infection. A positive test may not indicate prior exposure to COVID-19, and it doesn’t mean a person is protected from COVID-19 in the future.  

Click here to learn about testing in your area.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The coronavirus is spread from person to person — mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) — through tiny droplets made when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It’s possible, but not likely, 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 eyes. It’s important to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Protect yourself from the risk of serious illness or hospitalization by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect against variant strains of the virus?
Studies suggest the current authorized vaccines offer strong protection against the circulating variants, including the Delta variant. However, even though mask mandates in our regions/states may be lifted, risk remains for ongoing transmission of this now more effective variant. When in public indoor spaces, wearing a mask adds protection, in addition to handwashing and physical distancing. Although wearing a mask may not be required for those who are fully vaccinated, it remains prudent for each of us to do so.



Stay safe — get care from home first

To help protect yourself, your loved ones, and our staff, please don’t visit our facilities without an appointment. You have many other ways to get quality care, including phone appointments and email. Our clinicians will determine if you need an in-person appointment or meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test.

If you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Tell them if you have COVID-19 symptoms.


 
You have many safe ways to get the care you need — whether you have COVID-19 symptoms or are facing a different health issue.
 
Our care teams are working closely with government agencies to prioritize safety, prevent spread in our communities, and test the first vaccine.
 
We can help you learn about coverage options, see if you qualify for financial help, and find local resources.
           


Sources

For additional information about the coronavirus and COVID-19, visit these websites: