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What is social distancing?

Health officials say social distancing can slow the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Here are tips for home, at work and for higher risk groups

SEATTLE — Stop shaking hands. Cancel meetings of more than 10 people. Stay six feet away from others.

These are some of the tips that health experts are offering, as they recommended social distancing as a way slow the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Social distancing is staying away from other people as a way to protect oneself and others from getting sick.

The following are tips for social distancing at home and at work.

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  • Stay home 
  • Don’t go out in public when you’re sick
  • Avoid medical settings unless necessary
  • Give 6 feet of space from others
  • Wave instead of shaking hands
  • Practice excellent personal hygiene


  • Work in ways that minimize close contact
  • Minimize groups over 10
  • Encourage telecommuting
  • Clean your workspace frequently

People at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 should put social distancing into practice, experts say. Higher risk groups include:

  • People older than 60
  • Those with underlying health conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant women

Experts say these practices can break the chain of coronavirus transmission though they have not said it will completely stop the virus from spreading.

What are coronavirus symptoms?

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or colds. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

The severity of symptoms ranges significantly. Some cases are very mild with symptoms similar to the common cold, and some cases are more like severe pneumonia that require hospitalization.

Most deaths have been reported in older adults who had other health conditions, according to DOH.

Symptoms may appear as soon as two days after being exposed to the coronavirus or as long as 14 days.

A Washington state call center has been set up to answer your questions about COVID-19. If you have questions about how the virus spreads, what is being done in Washington state, and what you can do if you have symptoms, call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

Credit: TEGNA
These are typical symptoms of COVID-19 vs flu vs allergies. If you have any questions or medical assistance call your provider, or the Washington state call center set up for coronavirus questions: 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

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