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What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. Symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness.

While there is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, there are some ways to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. The best way to protect yourself is to stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact with others.

Wear a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth in public settings. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Also, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Here are some more helpful resources for our community.

Coronavirus symptoms and risks

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Coronavirus symptoms include:

  • feeling like you have a fever
  • a new cough
  • shortness of breath

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information about COVID-19 symptoms.

Who is most at risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?

Everyone, but some people are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, including:

  • people over 65 years old
  • people with compromised immune systems
  • people with serious chronic medical conditions

Where can I go to learn more about the virus?

The following websites are the best places to go to learn more about the coronavirus:

Testing and treatment

When should I seek treatment for COVID-19?

Many people are able to recover from COVID-19 at home. Seek treatment if:

  • you have difficulty breathing (shortness of breath)
  • you feel like symptoms (such as fever and cough) are getting worse rapidly
  • you are unable to care for symptoms at home

If you feel any of the above symptoms, call your doctor for a phone evaluation. They will give you guidance on whether or not you should get tested for COVID-19.

What if I feel like I'm coming down with the flu?

The flu is different from a cold, which is gradual. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu will often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*Note: It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

If you have flu-like symptoms, please:

  • Stay at home to recover
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds before touching anyone or anything
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Germs tend to linger. Disinfect door handles, your phone and other surfaces daily.

Staying safe during COVID-19

When should I do if I'm dealing with domestic violence?

Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.

If any of the above sound like they may be happening to you or someone you love, here are a few suggestions for survivors that may make this uncertain time feel a little bit safer:

  • Create a safety plan
  • Practice self-care
  • Reach out for help
    For any victims and survivors who need support, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is here for you, 24/7. Call (800) 799-7233 or (800) 799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto or text LOVEIS to 22522.

How can protect children from abuse and neglect?

Community members play an important role in protecting children from abuse and neglect. If you are worried about the health or safety of a child, call the local CPS hotline for the county where the child lives or find a local child abuse youth victim service provider.

You can call or text the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 24/7 at (800) 4-A-CHILD to speak with a professional crisis counselor who can provide assistance in over 170 languages.

You may also be able to help children and youth who have been abused or neglected by stepping up to serve as a foster caregiver. Please contact your local county’s Social Service or Human Service department, or call the toll-free line at (800) KIDS-4-US.

What about adults suffering from abuse and neglect?

Adult Protective Services: Call (833) 401-0832 24/7 for concerns about adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

I've heard some rumors about COVID-19. How do I know which information to trust?

To help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding COVID-19, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created this resource page.

Here are more trustworthy resources to rely on for information:

Frequently asked questions

How California Is Responding to COVID-19

On March 19, the State of California issued a stay-at-home order, requiring all residents to remain in their homes except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. The order is in place until further notice. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the stay-at-home order and how it affects you.

What's open?

Essential services will remain open, such as:

  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Banks
  • Laundromats/laundry services
  • Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services

What's closed?

  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios
  • Public events and gatherings
  • Convention Centers
  • Hair and nail salons

What businesses and organizations are exempt?

Businesses and organizations that provide critical infrastructure for the state are exempted, including health care and public health, public safety, food and agriculture and media. See the full list of exempt sectors (PDF).

What if I need to visit the doctor?

If you are feeling sick with flu-like symptoms, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center.

If you need to go to the hospital, call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival. If you need to call 911, tell the 911 operator the exact symptoms you are experiencing so the ambulance provider can prepare to treat you safely.

When will coronavirus testing be available?

Gov. Newsom announced the COVID-19 Testing Task Force, a public-private collaboration that aims to quickly and significantly boost California’s testing capacity. The Task Force will work to scale up testing as demand increases.

For now, testing is available for people who

  • have coronavirus symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, and/or fever) AND
  • have a risk factor, such as
    • Contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19
    • Have a compromised immune system, or have serious chronic medical conditions.

Testing is also available for certain workers in essential industries. Learn more about testing and treatment at California Department of Public Health Coronavirus Updates.

Can I still exercise, go outside to get fresh air or walk my dog?

It’s okay to go outside to go for a walk or to exercise, as long as you maintain a safe social distance of six feet from people not in your household. Parks may be closed to help slow the spread of the virus. Check with local officials about park closures in your area.

You can walk your dog. You can also go to the vet or pet hospital if your pet is sick. Remember to distance yourself at least six feet from other pets and owners.

Take these steps to help yourself
and the community

Stay at home – On March 19, the State of California issued a stay at home order, requiring all residents to remain in their dwellings except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job. Because COVID-19 is spread through contact with others, social distancing is a crucially important public health intervention that can help stop coronavirus transmission.

Buy local – Shop locally to provide businesses to coffee shops and restaurants while practicing social distancing and other precaution protocols like hand-washing and sanitizing. Many of these restaurants use delivery services like Grubhub, Ubereats, Postmates or Doordash.

If you are sick – Stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible (this includes pets). Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Contact your healthcare provider immediately and tell them you may have COVID-19. Also, please follow CDC recommendations.

How to wash your hands

Apply soap

Rub your palms

Rub between your fingers

Rub the back of your palm

Rinse hands

Dry using a towel

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