How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread similarly to other respiratory illnesses – including cold and flu. This can include:

  • Airborne transmission through coughing and sneezing
  • Close contact with someone who has the virus
  • Touching contaminated surfaces


Who is most at risk from COVID-19?

Most people can contract or transmit the virus and have few symptoms or recover quickly. Those most at-risk for severe symptoms are:

  • Older adults.
  • People with poor immune systems.
  • People with underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease.
  • People with certain disabilities. These include those who have trouble understanding or practicing preventive measures or who cannot communicate their symptoms.
  • Pregnant people.


What can I do to minimize my risk?

We recommend that you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) everyday guidelines to prevent the spread of any respiratory illness – including COVID-19. 

Wear a cloth face covering

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Everyone should wear a cloth face covering when they have to go out in public. The cloth face covering is mainly meant to protect other people in case you are infected. Preventing transmission of the virus works best when everyone is wearing cloth face coverings.

Keep it clean

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. You can use a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Practice social distancing

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowds.

If you get sick

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.  
  • Wash hands often, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  • Wear a mask when you are around other people.


How can I stay healthy while at home and lower my risk of getting sick?

Stress, lack of movement, and poor eating choices can easily erode your health during the shelter in place. Healthy eating and self-care can be a great way to lower your risk of getting sick. Our virtual Wellvolution programs can help you eat better, manage stress, and even treat chronic conditions like diabetes. Our programs and nutrition coaches support a healthy immune system using food you are already eating and recommending activities you can do at home. Programs are available to most Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan members at no additional cost. 
Find a program that’s right for you and your lifestyle (even while you’re at home) at 

Please note: Medi-Cal and some self-funded employer-sponsored plans do not have access to Wellvolution. Please contact the member services number on your ID card if you’re not sure if you have access to Wellvolution. 

When can I be around others after I’ve recovered?

People with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home should follow their healthcare provider’s guidance on when they can come out of home isolation. According to CDC guidance, people generally can be around others after:

  • 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • COVID-19 symptoms have improved (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)

Read the full CDC guidance. There is separate guidance for people with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised patients).

Depending on your healthcare provider’s advice and availability of testing, you might get tested to see if you still have COVID-19. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.