County of Los Angeles Public Health

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) is cooperating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to recent reports of a novel (new) coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others that circulate mostly among animals. Common symptoms in an infected person include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

GUIDANCE FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING

Public Health is asking everyone to do their part to help slow the spread of novel coronavirus in our community by practicing social distancing. This means making changes in our daily lives to protect ourselves and others, including those who are most at risk.

People who are sick or who have been in contact with people who have COVID-19 should take stronger measures than social distancing to reduce the risk of infecting others (see resources at the end of this guide).

What is social distancing?
Social distancing means staying home, avoiding crowds and staying at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible.

Why is everyone being asked to practice social distancing?
When someone with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes the small droplets from their nose or mouth can travel 3-6 feet. People can get infected if they breathe in these droplets, or the droplets land on their eyes, nose, or mouth. Although people who are sick with COVID-19 are the most infectious, it is possible that some people may spread the virus before they start to feel unwell.

It is also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

The less time that we spend within 6 feet of each other, and the fewer people we interact with, the more likely we are to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Health Officer of Los Angeles County and the Governor of California have issued orders that ask people to stay home unless they have to access essential businesses or services such as purchasing food, going to the bank, or seeking healthcare or social services. Essential workers, who are those providing the services everyone needs, are allowed to leave their homes to go to work as long as they practice social distancing whenever possible. To read the Los Angeles County orders and related guidance, visit the Public Health webpage and click on “Health Officer Order”. Click here to view the State executive orders.

How do I practice social distancing?

  • Avoid any places where a lot of people are together such as gatherings, parties, worship services, and crowded parks.
  • Work or study from home, if possible.
  • Do not have visitors over or let your children have play-dates.
  • Avoid health care settings – unless you need services.
  • Cancel non-essential health care appointments.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Avoid public transport, if you can
  • Avoid close contact with people – instead of shaking hands, come up with other ways to greet people that don’t involve any touching.

If you do have to use public transport, shop, go to work, or participate in other activities, take precautions to reduce the risks, such as:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend in close contact with others.
  • Limit the number of different people you spend time with.
  • Keep as far away from others as possible, especially if they are coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to go to places at times when they are less busy.
  • Avoid touching surfaces in public places, when possible.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.
  • Clean your hands often, especially after touching surfaces in public places and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

What if I am at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19? 
​​Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This includes pregnant women, adults over age 65 and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, or a weakened immune system. If this applies to you, take extra precautions if possible, e.g.:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid caring for children.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • If you do go out, avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Avoid any gatherings. Only allow visitors who are providing essential services.
  • Consider ways of getting food and other essential items brought to your door through family, neighbors, or delivery services.

Food and other necessities

  • Go to the store when it is less busy and stock up on essential supplies so that you don’t have to go out as often and keep at least 6 feet away from people as much as you can.
  • Restaurants and cafes cannot offer eat-in dining, but you can still use delivery, drive-thru or carry out as long as everyone practices social distancing as much as possible.

Tips

  • If you order something for delivery, if possible, pay and tip electronically and ask for the item to be left outside your door.
  • Talk to your school or work about options for studying or working remotely.
  • Spend time outdoors – you can hike, walk, or bike if you can stay 6 feet apart from others. Avoid playgrounds, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.
  • Exercise at home or outdoors - as long as you are 6 feet from others.
  • Avoid isolation by using technology and the phone to communicate with friends and family often.
  • Take care of one another – check-in by phone with friends, family, and neighbors who are vulnerable to serious illness or have mobility issues. Offer to help, while still following social distance guidelines.
  • If you are sick, call your doctor or dentist before visiting. Check their website or call to find out if they offer telemedicine or phone advice.
  • Stay informed through trusted sources for the latest accurate information about novel coronavirus

Resources 
If you need help finding social services or medical care, call the Los Angeles County Information line 2-1-1, which is available 24/7

Visit the DPH coronavirus webpage for information that can be downloaded and printed on topics such as:

  • What You Should Know (Infographic)
  • How to Cope with Stress
  • Cleaning in the Home
  • Handwashing
  • What If I'm Exposed
  • Home quarantine guidance for close contacts to  COVID-19 (English and Spanish)
  • Home care instructions for people with Respiratory Symptoms (English and Spanish)
  • What to do if you Have symptoms of  Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Infographic/poster) (English and Spanish)

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health
Tips for social distancing, quarantine, and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak

WHAT IF I'M EXPOSED? (English)

Why am I being asked to self-quarantine?
You have been in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and even though you feel well now, it is possible that you are also infected. It can take 2 – 14 days to show symptoms, so we may not know for up to 14 days if you are infected or not. You have been asked to self-quarantine in case you are infected so that you don’t pass on the infection to anyone else. It may turn out that you are not infected but it is too soon to tell.

How long do I need to self-quarantine?
Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when you were last in contact with the person with COVID-19. If you continue to live with and/or care for the person with COVID-19, the quarantine guidance is as follows:

  • Your quarantine will end 14 days after the household started to follow the Home Isolation Instructions.
  • If there is close contact with a person with COVID-19 (being within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes or touching body fluids or secretions without using the appropriate precautions) the 14-day quarantine period will have to restart. Body fluids or secretions include sweat, saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine, or diarrhea.
  • If you are unable to avoid close contact, you should stay in quarantine for 14 days after the person with COVID-19 was told they were “cleared” to stop their own isolation. This is likely to be at least 21 days.

What are the restrictions?
You must restrict activities and limit all movements that may put you in contact with others during the quarantine period.

  1. Stay home. Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  2. Do not allow visitors and limit the number of people in your home.
  3. Separate yourself from others in your home.
    • Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home as much as possible. It is very important to stay away from people who are at higher risk of serious illness. This includes people who are age 65 years and older, pregnant, or have a health problem such as a chronic disease or a weak immune system. Consider different living arrangements for these high-risk people if possible
    • Use a separate bathroom, if available.
    • Try to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
    • Do not handle pets or other animals.
    • Do not prepare or serve food to others.
    • Avoid caring for children if possible.

Can I leave my residence to run errands?
If you do not have someone to help you, arrange for food and other necessities to be left at your door. If you have no choice but to go out for essential supplies and you still have no symptoms, you can go out but be as quick as you can, go at a time when the store is not as busy, and stay at least 6 feet away from others as much as possible.

You can go on a private balcony or yard or walk outside if you can stay at least 6 feet away from others.

Can I use public transport?
If you must leave home, do not use public transport. Use a private vehicle if possible. If you cannot drive yourself, make sure to maintain as much distance as possible between you and the driver and leave windows down.

Will Public Health notify my workplace or school?
Public Health will not notify or release any personal information about you to your workplace or school unless it is necessary to do so to protect your health or the health of others. Public Health will provide a note to excuse your absence from school or work if you need one.

Should I wear a mask?
There is no need to wear a mask if you do not have symptoms.

How should I monitor my health during this period?
Monitor your health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
  • Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose.

What if I develop symptoms?
If you develop cold or flu-like symptoms, you may have COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 will have mild illness and can get better with the proper home care and without the need to see a provider. If you are 65 years and older, pregnant, or have a health condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or a weakened immune system you are at higher risk of more serious illness or complications. Monitor your symptoms closely and seek medical care early if they get worse.

You do not need to be tested just to confirm infection as most persons with respiratory infection, including COVID-19, will have mild illness which can get better with home care. You do need to remain home for at least 7 days from the onset of symptoms or 3 days after your fever is completely gone and your respiratory symptoms are better, whichever is longer. Call your provider if you have concerns or questions about the need for testing. You should continue to isolate yourself. Follow the guidance Home Care Instructions for People with Respiratory Symptoms. If symptoms worsen or continue and you need to seek medical care, call your healthcare provider in advance, or 9-1-1 in an emergency, and let them know you are a close contact to a person with confirmed COVID-19.

What should I do if I have additional questions?
Visit our website for more information and guidance. Please call your health care provider for any questions related to your health. If you need help finding a health care provider, call 2-1-1, the County information line.

WHAT IF I'M EXPOSED? (Spanish)

¿Por qué me piden que me ponga en cuarentena?
Usted ha estado en contacto cercano con alguien que tiene la Enfermedad de Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) y aunque se sienta bien ahora, es posible que también esté infectado. Puede tomar de 2 a 14 días para mostrar síntomas, por lo que es posible que no sepamos hasta 14 días si usted está infectado o no. Se le ha pedido que se ponga en auto cuarentena en caso de que esté infectado para que no transmita la infección a nadie más. Puede resultar que usted no está infectado, pero es demasiado pronto para saber.

¿Cuánto tiempo necesito estar en auto cuarentena?
Su último día de cuarentena es 14 días desde la última vez que estuvo en contacto con la persona con COVID-19. Si continúa viviendo con y/o cuidando a la persona con el COVID-19, la guía de cuarentena es la siguiente:

  • Su cuarentena terminara 14 días después de que el hogar comenzara a seguir las Instrucciones de Aislamiento en el Hogar.
  • Si hay contacto cercano con una persona con el COVID-19 (estar dentro de 6 pies durante más de 10 minutos o tocar líquidos corporales o secreciones sin usar las precauciones apropiadas) el período de cuarentena de 14 días tendrá que comenzar de nuevo. Los líquidos corporales o las secreciones incluyen sudor, saliva, flema, moco nasal, vómito, orina o diarrea.
  • Si no puede evitar el contacto cercano, debe permanecer en cuarentena durante 14 días después de que se le dijo a la persona con COVID-19 que se le "da de alta" para detener su propio aislamiento. Es probable que sea por lo menos 21 días.

¿Cuáles son las restricciones?
Debe restringir las actividades y limitar todos los movimientos que puedan ponerle en contacto con otras personas durante el período de cuarentena.

  1. Quédese en casa. No vaya a trabajar, a la escuela o a las áreas públicas.
  2. No permita visitas y limite el número de personas en su casa.
  3. Sepárese de los demás en su hogar.
    • Quédese en una habitación específica y lejos de otras personas en su hogar tanto como sea posible. Es muy importante mantenerse alejado de las personas que tienen un mayor riesgo de contraer enfermedades graves. Esto incluye a las personas que tienen 65 años o más, están embarazadas o tienen un problema de salud como una enfermedad crónica o un sistema inmunitario débil. Considere diferentes arreglos de vivienda para estas personas de alto riesgo si es posible.
    • Use un baño separado, si está disponible.
    • Trate de mantenerse al menos a 6 pies de distancia de los demás.
    • No toque mascotas u otros animales.
    • No prepare alimentos ni sirva a los demás mientras esté enfermo.
    • Evite el cuidado de los niños.

¿Puedo dejar mi hogar para hacer mandados?
Si no tiene a alguien que lo ayude, haga arreglos para que la comida y otras necesidades se dejen en su puerta. Si no tiene otra opción que salir a buscar suministros esenciales y aún no tiene síntomas, puede salir, pero sea lo más rápido posible, vaya a la tienda cuando no está tan ocupada, y permanezca al menos a 6 pies de distancia de los demás tanto como sea posible.

Puede ir en un balcón o patio privado o caminar al aire libre si puede permanecer al menos a 6 pies de distancia de los demás.

¿Puedo usar el transporte público?
Si tiene que salir de casa, no utilice el transporte público. Utilice un vehículo privado si es posible. Si no puede conducir usted mismo, asegúrese de mantener la mayor distancia posible entre usted y el conductor y deje las ventanas hacia abajo.

¿La Salud Pública notificará mi lugar de trabajo o escuela?
Salud Pública no notificará ni comunicará ninguna información personal sobre usted a su lugar de trabajo o escuela a menos que sea necesario hacerlo para proteger su salud o la de otros. Salud Pública le dará una nota para excusar su ausencia de la escuela o el trabajo si la necesita.

¿Debo usar una máscara?
No es necesario usar una máscara si no tiene síntomas.

¿Cómo debo controlar mi salud durante este período?
Monitoree su salud por signos y síntomas de COVID-19:

  • Fiebre
  • Tos
  • Dificultad para respirar o problemas respiratorios.
  • Otros síntomas tempranos de tener en cuenta son escalofríos, dolores corporales, dolor de garganta, dolor de cabeza, diarrea, náuseas/vómitos y sequedad nasal.

¿Qué pasa si tengo síntomas?
Si presenta síntomas similares al resfriado o a la gripe, es posible que tenga COVID-19. La mayoría de las personas con COVID-19 tendrán una enfermedad leve y pueden mejorar con el cuidado apropiado en el hogar y sin necesidad de ver a un proveedor médico. Si tiene 65 años o más, está embarazada o tiene problemas de salud como enfermedades cardíacas, enfermedades pulmonares, diabetes, enfermedad renal o un sistema inmunitario debilitado, tiene un mayor riesgo de padecer enfermedades o complicaciones más graves. Monitoree los síntomas de cerca y busque atención médica a tiempo si empeoran.

No es necesario que se le haga la prueba solo para confirmar la infección, ya que la mayoría de las personas con infección respiratoria, incluido el COVID-19, tendrán una enfermedad leve que puede mejorar con cuidados en el hogar. Debe permanecer en casa durante al menos 7 días desde el inicio de los síntomas o 3 días después de que la fiebre haya desaparecido por completo y sus síntomas respiratorios sean mejores, lo que sea más largo. Llame a su proveedor de atención medica si tiene inquietudes o preguntas sobre la necesidad de realizar pruebas. Debe de continuar el aislamiento. Siga la guía de Instrucciones de Cuidado en Casa para Pacientes con Infección Respiratoria Leve. Si los síntomas empeoran o continúan y necesita buscar atención médica, llame a su proveedor de atención médica con anticipación, o 9-1-1 en una emergencia, y hágales saber que usted es un contacto cercano de una persona con el COVID-19 confirmado.

¿Qué debo hacer si tengo preguntas adicionales?
Visite nuestro sitio web para obtener más información y orientación. Llame a su proveedor de atención médica para cualquier pregunta relacionada con su salud. Si necesita ayuda para encontrar un proveedor de atención médica, llame al 2-1-1, la línea de información del condado.

FAQ

  1. What is a coronavirus?
    • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold.
       
  2. How are coronaviruses spread?
    • Like other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, human coronaviruses most commonly spread to others from an infected person who has symptoms through:
      • Droplets produced through coughing and sneezing
      • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person
      • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
         
  3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
    • Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people becoming severely ill, requiring admission to the hospital, and dying. Symptoms include:
      • Fever
      • Cough
      • Difficulty breathing
         
  4. What should I do if I have these symptoms?
    • Evidence suggests that like the flu, most people will have mild symptoms and should stay home at least 3 days (72 hours) after recovery, which means your fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications and there is improvement in your respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

      Older adults, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical problems who experience these symptoms should call their doctor early. If you are having difficulty breathing or keeping fluids down, go to an emergency room or call 911, otherwise call your doctor before going in to seek care.

       
  5. Can I get tested for the coronavirus?
    • Most people will get better with rest, so there is no need to see a doctor about testing if you have mild symptoms. If you develop difficulty breathing or cannot keep fluids down, see a doctor or, if an emergency, call 911. Certain patients such as the elderly, those that are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions should call their doctor earlier. If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in.
       
  6. How is novel coronavirus treated?
    • There is no specific treatment for illness caused by COVID-19. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment is based on the patient’s condition.

      There is currently no vaccine to prevent novel coronavirus. Be aware of scam products for sale that make false claims to prevent or treat this new infection.

       
  7. Is the novel coronavirus spreading in the United States?
    • Yes, there is increasing community spread in the United States, including in Los Angeles County, and that spread is likely to continue. Our aim is to slow the spread of infection in order to protect the public and the healthcare system.
       
  8. What can I do to protect myself and others from COVID-19?
    • There are steps that everyone can take daily to reduce the risk of getting sick or infecting others with COVID-19.

      You should:
      • Practice social distancing in compliance with health officer orders. This means everyone should stay home unless they need to access essential services or are an essential worker. Whenever you are out, keep 6 ft. apart from everyone else as much as possible.
      • If you are an essential worker, stay home when you are sick.
      • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
      • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
      • Avoid close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning product.
      • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your elbow (not your hands).
      • Get a flu shot to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season.
      • Avoid all non-essential travel
         
  9. Should I wear a facemask?
    • It is not recommended that people who are well wear a mask to protect themselves from COVID-19 unless a healthcare professional advises it. A facemask should be used by people with COVID-19 who have symptoms to protect others from getting infected. Health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in a close setting should wear a mask.
       
  10. How can I protect myself when I travel?
    • Information for Travel webpage COVID-19At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people avoid all nonessential travel and all travel abroad. Check the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html for up-to-date recommendations.
       
  11. School and business closures
    • Given the evidence of community spread of COVID-19, the Los Angeles County Health Officer and the Governor of California have closed non-essential businesses where large numbers of people come into close contact, to help slow the spread of disease. These businesses include movie theaters, event arenas, bars and nightclubs, gyms, bowling alleys, arcades, playgrounds, hair and nail salons, non-essential retail stores, indoor shopping malls, and others. In addition, restaurants and other food-serving facilities are limited to delivery, pick up, or drive-thru with no on-site service.

      Essential services will remain in operation, such as public transportation, grocery stores, congregate living, and healthcare facilities, but must ensure social distancing of at least six feet between people and accessible handwashing stations.

      Public health is encouraging organizations and schools to provide critical services if on-site operations are temporarily reduced. Speak with your children’s school or daycare center to learn about their emergency operation plan and prepare ahead for possible alternate childcare arrangements. Also, speak with employers and learn about what you might be asked to do if there are closures or reduced operations at your worksite.

       
  12. What can I do if I get stressed about COVID-19?
    • When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease, it is normal to feel anxious and show signs of stress. It is important to care for your own physical and mental health. For tips on what you can do to help cope, read "Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks" on the Public Health website. For help, call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Access Center 24/7 Helpline at (800) 854-7771 or call 2-1-1.
       
  13. What else can I do?

    

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