Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Page Last reviewed: October 24, 2023 at 12:30 p.m.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral disease cause by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms, but symptom severity and presentation can vary from person to person.

Face Coverings

You can buy or make face coverings, but keep in mind that different types of masks have different levels of protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for them. To Learn more about face coverings, visit the CDC's Mask page.

Recommended Face Coverings

Face coverings should fit snugly over your nose and mouth and consist of multiple layers. If your mask or face covering only consists of one layer, consider doubling up. Information about choosing the right mask, and wearing it correctly, is available from the CDC. If you cannot buy face masks, you can:

Are clear face shields a good alternative to cloth face covering?

No, a face shield is not an acceptable substitute for a mask or cloth face covering because face shields do not fully cover the nose and mouth of the wearer, allowing air to freely escape or enter from the sides of the shield. People can wear face shields in addition to a mask or face covering to provide additional "splash" protection to the wearer from coughs and sneezes, but a face shield should never replace wearing a mask or face covering. 

people with developmental, behavioral or medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering may wear a face shield with a drape. Children with similar conditions in childcare, day camp and K-12 settings can also use a face shield with a drape. For more information about appropriate mask usage in K-12 settings, refer to DOH's K-12 Requirements for the 2021-2022 School Year. For information about appropriate mask usage in overnight camp settings, refer to DOH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Overnight Group Summer Camps and Similar Activities.

How to Properly Wear Face Coverings

Using face coverings properly impacts the effectiveness of the face covering. If worn incorrectly or improperly used a mask will be less effective. Remember to wear a well-fitting face covering. 

  • Your mask should cover your nose and mouth at all times.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on a face covering and after removing it.
  • Change your face covering when it gets moist.
  • Wash reusable face coverings after each use.

Learn more about how to appropriately wear a face covering: English, Spanish, Russian.

Additional guidance on using face coverings is available from the CDC and DOH.

For Businesses

Workplace Safety and COVID-19 Prevention Requirements

These workplace safety and coronavirus prevention recommendations and requirements are still in effect:

What to Do If a Worker Has COVID-19 or Is a Close Contact

If a worker has COVID-19 or is a close contact to someone with COVID-19, they should follow current isolation and quarantine guidance that fits their situation. 

If you have an employee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19, refer to DOH Guidance for Non-Healthcare Businesses and Organizations during Covid-19 to learn more. If you need assistance, you can contact our Communicable Disease team at [email protected] or 360-778-6100.

Employer Tool Kit: What to Do When COVID-19 Comes to Work

The guidance and resources below will help your business or organization respond quickly and effectively when a worker has confirmed COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19.

Additional Resources