Helpful information about the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you think you have been exposed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and you have a fever and respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath), call your doctor’s office or local public health department for further direction.

Information about COVID-19

COVID-19 is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, specifically between people that have close contact with one another. The virus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets are believed to live on surfaces for up to three days during which further transmission and spread of infection can occur. This is why use of disinfectants on surfaces are encouraged. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. A health care provider can give you instructions for seeking care, including options for testing, while minimizing the risk of exposing others.

Across the world, new cases of COVID-19 are being reported, and the U.S. has declared a national emergency. The U. S. urges Americans to practice self quarantine and social distancing to decrease the rate of transmission. We continue to follow established infection prevention protocols and remain prepared to care for patients. We have protocols in place and taking extra measures as safety is our number one priority. We continue to train our staff by practicing for these scenarios. We are monitoring this issue closely and taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our patients, staff, visitors, and community.

How to Protect Yourself

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 infection the same ways you protect against the common cold or seasonal flu:

• Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds before eating, when your hands are visibly soiled, and after you have used the bathroom, been in public or blown your nose, coughed or sneezed.

• Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, if soap and water aren’t available.

• Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, and throw your used tissues in the trash.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Wear a face mask, only if you are sick or are caring for someone who is sick.

• Put some distance between yourself and others, especially if:

– Someone near you is sick

– You are at a higher risk of serious illness

– COVID-19 is spreading in your communities

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more guidance, please visit the CDC website.

If You Feel Sick

There are several things you should do if you are sick or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, and have a fever or respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath):

• Stay home if you are sick or believe you have been exposed to the virus, even if you aren’t showing any symptoms.

• Avoid public areas and transportation.

• Avoid coming to the emergency department, unless you have a health emergency and/or you have been advised by your health care provider to do so. This helps prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.

• Monitor yourself for fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

corona virus symptoms

• Separate yourself from other people and animals as much as possible, while you are sick.

• Wear a face mask, if you are sick.

• Take the same precautions you would if you had the common cold or flu (e.g., wash your hands frequently).

For more guidance, please visit the CDC website.

Stay Informed

The CDC has the most current information about the virus and is routinely updating its online resources. 

You can also learn how California’s department of public health is responding to the situation:

• California

• Alaska 

• Montana

• New Mexico

• Oregon

• Texas 

• Washington

FAQ

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Many patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). However, limited information is currently available to characterize the full spectrum of clinical illness associated with COVID-19. Based on what is known about the virus that causes COVID-19, signs and symptoms may appear any time from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Based on preliminary data, the median incubation period is approximately 5 days, but may range 2-14 days.

Public health officials have identified cases of COVID-19 infection throughout the world, including the United States, which may pose risks for public health. Please check the CDC webpage for the most up to date information.

What does it mean if the specimen tests positive for the virus that causes COVID-19?

Many patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). However, limited information is currently available to characterize the full spectrum of clinical illness associated with COVID-19. Based on what is known about the virus that causes COVID-19, signs and symptoms may appear any time from 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Based on preliminary data, the median incubation period is approximately 5 days, but may range 2-14 days.

Public health officials have identified cases of COVID-19 infection throughout the world, including the United States, which may pose risks for public health. Please check the CDC webpage for the most up to date information.

What does it mean if the specimen tests negative for the virus that causes COVID-19?

A negative test result for this test means that SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not present in the specimen above the limit of detection. However, a negative result does not rule out COVID-19 and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions. A negative result does not exclude the possibility of COVID-19.

When diagnostic testing is negative, the possibility of a false negative result should be considered in the context of a patient’s recent exposures and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The possibility of a false negative result should especially be considered if the patient’s recent exposures or clinical presentation indicate that COVID-19 is likely, and diagnostic tests for other causes of illness (e.g., other respiratory illness) are negative. If COVID-19 is still suspected based on exposure history together with other clinical findings, re-testing should be considered by healthcare providers in consultation with public health authorities.

What if I need to visit a health care provider?

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.

What about routine, elective or non-urgent medical appointments?

Non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, and elective procedures must/should be cancelled or rescheduled. If possible, health care visits should be done remotely.

Contact your health care provider to see what services they are providing.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be sure that you protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least six feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue and then washing your hands. If you have early signs of a cold, please stay away from your older loved ones.

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

Generally no. There are limited exceptions, such as if you are going to the hospital with a minor who is under 18 or someone who is developmentally disabled and needs assistance. For most other situations, the order prohibits non-necessary visitation to these kinds of facilities except at the end-of-life. This is difficult, but necessary to protect hospital staff and other patients.