COVID-19 information
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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) guidance

You can find guidance and tips below from the City of Boston, Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Tips for social distancing

All residents are urged to practice social distancing:

  • Stay approximately six feet away from other people.
  • Wear a face covering or mask in public.
  • Avoid large crowds and gatherings. 
  • Practice good hygiene: continue to wash hands, use hand sanitizer, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow, and stay home if you are sick.

Certain people are at higher risk for serious illness from this virus. High-risk individuals include:

  • older adults, and
  • people with an underlying health condition, including (but not limited to) heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, obesity.

Individuals at higher risk should:

  • stay home and avoid situations of potential exposure
  • do not travel
  • do not attend large gatherings
  • limit time spent in public areas, and
  • do not congregate in groups of more than 10 people.

Residents should limit interactions with persons who are at higher risk for COVID-19. If you live with someone at high risk, practice social distancing. We all have personal responsibility to take care of ourselves and others, to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Do not mix cleaning products

It's dangerous to mix these cleaning products together:

  • Bleach and vinegar
  • Bleach and ammonia
  • Bleach and rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar

Mixing bleach and vinegar together makes chlorine gas which can cause:

  • coughing
  • breathing problems, and
  • burning and watery eyes.

Mixing bleach and ammonia together makes a toxic gas named chloramine which can cause:

  • shortness of breath, and
  • chest pain.

Mixing bleach and rubbing alcohol together makes chloroform, which is very toxic.

Mixing hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together makes peracetic / peroxyacetic acid which is very corrosive.

Coping with stress

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • worsening of chronic health problems, and
  • increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

Things you can do to support yourself

Stay up to date about developments related to COVID-19 by using reliable and accurate sources of health-related information, such as the CDC and BPHC.

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Focus on positive aspects of your life and things that you can control.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Reduce stress in yourself and others

Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful. When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call:

  • 911
  • Call or text Samaritans Inc. 24/7 at 877-870-4673 (HOPE)
  • Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control's website.

CDC guidance for travelers

On March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidelines for travelers who are returning to the United States after recently traveling to countries experiencing widespread transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Beginning immediately, the CDC guidelines for travelers are as follows:

Anyone returning to the United States from countries with a level 3 alert should stay home and monitor their health for 14 days after returning to the US.

Current level 3 countries: 
  • China
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • Europe (Schengen Area): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City
  • United Kingdom and Ireland: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland

Anyone returning to the United States from countries with a level 2 alert should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the US.

Currently level 2 countries:
  • Japan
What does 'monitor your health' mean?
  • Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and watch for a fever. A fever is a temperature 100.4°F/38°C or higher.
  • Watch for symptoms including a fever, cough, trouble breathing, shortness of breath.
  • If you experience a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher) or any other symptoms, call your health care provider immediately. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
What does it mean to 'stay home'?
  • Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period after returning home to the United States. Discuss your work situation with your employer BEFORE returning to work.
What does it mean to limit interactions?
  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the 14-day period.
  • Avoid crowded places (shopping centers, schools, workplace, church, and movie theaters).
  • Keep your distance from others (six feet or two meters away)
What should a person do if they get sick and traveled to a Level 3 or 2 country?
  • Seek medical care immediately. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your current symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.