Protect Yourself and Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of our best tools to stop the pandemic.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, including where you can get vaccinated, frequently asked questions, and guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.
Wear a face covering in public
The WHO urges fully vaccinated individuals to continue to wear masks and practice other safety measures as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread.
Effective July 30, the Department of Public Health has issued a new mask guidance in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance. Fully vaccinated individuals are advised to wear a mask or face covering when indoors outside of your home if you have a weakened immune system, are at increased risk for COVID-19 or if someone in your household is at increased risk or unvaccinated. Masks are still mandatory for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail and transportation stations), in healthcare facilities and in other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings.
Masks continue to be required in certain settings, whether you are vaccinated or not:
- On public and private transportation,
- Inside K-12 public schools, collaboratives, approved special education schools,
- Inside childcare programs,
- In health care facilities and provider offices,
- In congregate care settings,
- In health care and rehabilitative day services and programs.
A face covering can be anything that covers your nose and mouth, including scarves and bandanas. When you wear a cloth mask, it should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
- Be secured with ties or ear loops,
- Include multiple layers of fabric,
- Allow for breathing without restriction, and
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
Cloth masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
When putting on and taking off a mask, do not touch the front of it and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching it. Make sure you wash it regularly.
Face covering resources:
- Learn more about cloth face coverings from the CDC, including how to make your own.
- Face covering Do's and Don'ts are available on the CDC website.
- Watch a video in which the U.S. Surgeon General demonstrates how to make your own face covering in a few easy steps.
Practice good hygiene
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the used tissue immediately. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean surfaces that are frequently touched (e.g. doorknobs).
- Stay home if you feel sick and call your doctor (see section above). Learn more about dealing with sickness at home and other safety tips.
Physically distance yourself from others
People can spread COVID19 up to 48 hours before they have symptoms. That’s why social distancing is so important— no matter what.
Know the symptoms
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. Symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Older adults and people who have severe underlying conditions like heart or lung disease seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19.
Check your symptoms online:
If you have symptoms, stay home but contact your medical provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can contact an urgent care facility or your local health department.
Check out guidance from Mercy Medical Center, Springfield Health and Human Services, and Baystate Health about COVID-19 and when to stay home and when to go to the emergency room.
To access testing, you need approval from a clinician. If your clinician deems it necessary, they will provide testing or give you a referral that allows you to make an appointment at a testing site near you. For more information, visit the MDPH's webpage on testing. To find a testing site near you, visit MDPH's interactive COVID-19 Test Site Locator map.
Free asymptomatic testing: The state has opened free test sites in select communities. These sites are open to all residents of MA, and you do not need to have any symptoms.
Everyone has a right to access health care regardless of immigration status. Click here for information on COVID-19 resources available to immigrants and refugees. The Attorney General's office has produced informational posters in multiple languages regarding access to health care and other rights community members have during the time of COVID-19. All the multilingual versions can be found here.
Kindness is also contagious.
- Be a good neighbor. Check in on neighbors, especially older adults or people who live alone, to make sure they have want they need.
- Be generous. Don't hoard groceries and supplies. If you buy extra, consider donating them.
- Express your gratitude for healthcare workers, mail carriers, truckers, grocery store employees, farm workers, caretakers, and other essential workers and service providers. There are many ways to do this. Post something on social media, join the #BlinkYourLight campaign, hang thank you signs in your windows, etc.
Be sure to forward messages with correct information to friends and family. Check the source of your information to ensure it is credible. We cannot allow misinformation to go viral.
Visit the World Health Organization's mythbusters page.
Advocate and Donate
Participating in advocacy and donating where resources are needed will help your morale and those most in need.
We are part of the Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity, convened by the Massachusetts Public Health Association to rapidly develop policy recommendations. Learn more about the Task Force's recommendations as well as other COVID-19 related policy efforts.
Massachusetts' COVID-19 Response
Learn more about reopening Massachusetts and measures that have been adopted to curb the rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
413Cares.org, our online community resource database, provides an up-to-date listing of COVID-19 resources. Use the search bar below to find resources in your area.
For up-to-date alerts about the coronavirus in Massachusetts, text COVIDMA to 888-777. For Spanish-language text alerts, Envíe COVIDMAESP al 888-777.