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COVID-19

As of 03.30.2020 – will be updated periodically (initial publish date: 03.05.2020)

New section on Testing is available. Please scroll down.

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Other newly updated information:

As of March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay at home emergency order for an indefinite time period. This mandate is aimed at preventing further spread of COVID-19, as the governor announced that the virus may potentially infect 56% of the state’s population over the next eight weeks.
For details on the stay at home order, click here.

On March 13, 2020, the United States of America has entered a National State of Emergency following the COVID-19 pandemic. With information flooding across multiple media platforms, it can be difficult to navigate through the constant updates, and be best prepared on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

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What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the official name of the current novel coronavirus. Past coronaviruses include a variety of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020). At this time, the COVID-19 virus appears to be spreading easily and rapidly in geographic areas. This is largely in part due to incubation periods up to 14 days where individuals do not show common symptoms associated with COVID-19 diagnosis (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020). Common ways that COVID-19 is spread includes:

  • Person-to-person (primary form of transmission)
    • COVID-19 can spread through close contact with an infected person though exposure to droplets from coughs or exhales (Q&A on Coronaviruses, 2020).
  • Infected surfaces
    • COVID-19 can also spread after touching an object or surface that has infected droplets on it. Touching an object or surface and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth can spread COVID-19 (Q&A on Coronaviruses, 2020).

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 have ranged from mild to severe and can be similar to the symptoms of the common cold and flu. As of March 13, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

These known symptoms have shown to appear between 2-14 days after initial exposure. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your health care provider over the phone for medical advice before going to their office (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020). Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging individuals to be aware of emergency warning signs including:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If you are experiencing any emergency warning signs, please seek medical help immediately. Early reports indicate that 80% of infected individuals recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment. If you have further questions regarding your personal status, please contact your health care provider (Q&A on Coronaviruses, 2020).

It is also important to keep in mind that in addition to the COVID-19 symptoms, it is also allergy and flu season. Therefore, there may be concerns regarding similar symptoms between cold, flu, allergies, and COVID-19. Evaluate your symptoms and call your doctor if you suspect you have COVID-19. They will ask you about your travel history and interactions with others. Here are the different symptoms for allergies, colds, and the flu:

  • Allergies (Sheik, 2020)
    • Symptoms start at the eyes and nose
    • Runny nose
    • Watery eyes
  • Cold Symptoms (Coronavirus Symptoms, 2020)
    • Sore or scratchy throat
    • Cough
    • Runny nose
    • Mild fever
  • Flu Symptoms (Coronavirus Symptoms, 2020)
    • Symptoms appear suddenly and are more intense than a cold
    • High fever (over 100.5 degrees)
    • Extreme exhaustion
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Dry cough
    • Chills
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Headaches

Preparing for COVID-19

As of March 31, 2020, there is currently no specific drug or treatment for COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020). Thus, the most effective way to protect yourself and others against the virus is to be prepared and practice good self-management techniques such as:

  • Social distancing: make sure to have at least six feet between yourself and others
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and while coughing, and sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Staying home if you are experiencing any symptoms
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash
  • If you do not have access to a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces (i.e. phones, door knobs, etc.)
  • Following the CDC’s recommendation for using a facemask
    • The CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases
    • Facemasks should be used by people showing symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease. Health care workers and those taking care of someone in close settings need to use the facemasks as well.
  • Create a COVID-19 preparedness kit in the event you are required to be isolated in your home (Godoy, 2020). Preparedness kits should include the following:
    • Nonperishable goods that you can eat in the event you cannot get to the grocery store.
    • Extra medications for any health conditions you might have in the event you cannot get to the pharmacy
    • Cleaning supplies that you can use to clean high touch surface areas in the event you are isolated in your home, or have to care for an individual diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Alternative forms of entertainment in the event you are isolated in your home. Consider video-streaming services, books, or even using technology such as FaceTime or Zoom to supplement face-to-face interactions.

Travel Information

Please check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for updates regarding the status of international travel. As of March 13, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 Travel Notice, which urges nonessential travel to and from designated countries (Travel Health Notices, 2020). Some of the countries on this list include:

  • China
  • Iran
  • South Korea

Please note that at this time, Japan is a Level 2 Travel Notice, which urges to practice enhanced precautions (Travel Health Notices, 2020).

Testing for COVID-19 (NEW INFORMATION)

As of March 25, 2020, 92 state and local public health laboratories in 50 states, D.C., and Guam have successfully verified COVID-19 diagnostic tests and are offering testing (Testing in U.S., 2020). If you suspect you have COVID-19 and/or are displaying symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), call your primary care physician first. They can help determine if you need to be tested and can help direct you to the correct testing location (Testing, 2020). If your doctor is not providing testing, you can call your local urgent care. However, it is not advised to go to the emergency room just for a test. In addition, the residents in Los Angeles County can call 211, the Los Angeles County information line, to find providers with tests (Becker & Ibarra, 2020).

covid 19 testing

photo credit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx

Testing in California

California is currently working to increase its COVID-19 testing capacity. However, until that capacity is increased, Californians are seeing delays or a lack of testing in their community. Since there are limited tests and resources, testing should be reserved for people with moderate to severe symptoms and people with underlying health conditions (Becker & Ibarra, 2020). Since there is no cure or treatment for COVID-19, a positive test for someone with mild or no symptoms does not change the result of a two-week quarantine, and therefore tests should be prioritized for high-risk individuals.

Testing in Los Angeles County

Currently, public health labs in Los Angeles County are running tests from high-risk patients. Others who are not high-risk should be tested by a commercial laboratory. Priority also goes to hospitalized patients in high-risk groups and to anyone exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 (Becker & Ibarra, 2020).

Testing in Los Angeles City

Currently, testing in Los Angeles is only available for residents of the City of Los Angeles. Testing is prioritized to those in high-risk categories:

  • 65 and older
  • People with underlying health conditions
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension
    • Lung disease
    • Moderate to severe asthma, and
    • People who are immunocompromised
  • People who have come in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 with over a week left in their two-week quarantine

There are four drive-through testing centers in the City of Los Angeles. To see if you are eligible for an appointment, click here. After answering the questions and if you are eligible for a test, you will receive a confirmation email including the date, time, and location for your appointment. Appointments are only available for the following day. The test will only take about five minutes, and you can stay in your car. The test is free of charge and results are available within 24 to 36 hours of the test (Frequently Asked Questions, 2020).

Testing in Orange County

Testing sites in Orange County are limited. Two health care systems, Kaiser Permanente and Providence St. Joseph Health, are offering drive-through testing, but only to patients in its network with a doctor’s referral. No walk-up patients or people from other health plans are accepted (Wheeler, 2020).

Testing in Ventura County

Ventura County has set up various drive-through testing sites outside of urgent care centers. Due to limited resources and supplies, not everyone will be tested. Tests will be given to people with a fever and cough or shortness of breath, who are hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness or organ failure. In addition, health care workers, firefighters, law enforcement, and those working where COVID-19 cases are reported will also be given tests. People will be screened before given a test to determine if a test is necessary. Test results are typically available within 24 hours. Those who have questions, please consult your doctor for more information.

Being Diagnosed with COVID-19

Your health care provider can diagnose you with COVID-19 through testing procedures. It will be imperative that you implement habits such as the following steps in order to prevent the further spread of the disease to the community if diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020):

  • Stay home unless you are seeking medical treatment
  • Avoid public areas and public transportation
  • Separate yourself from family members and pets
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a facemask in the presence of others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid sharing household items
  • Clean all high touch surfaces daily
  • Monitor your symptoms daily

If your symptoms begin to decline, please contact your health care provider to discontinue home isolation (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020).

Caring for a Loved One Who is Isolated at Home

If a loved one is isolated at home due to COVID-19, please consider the following best practices as referred by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Coronavirus Disease 2019, 2020):

  • Understand your loved one’s care plan issued by their health care provider. You might have to take responsibility for them to access groceries, medications, and other daily necessities.
  • Monitor their daily symptoms. In the event their conditions do not improve, contact their primary care provider and notify them of their situation.
  • Distance your loved one from others in the household who are not exhibiting symptoms. If possible, this means adjusting sleeping arrangements and designating bathrooms.
  • Prohibit nonessential visitors from entering the house.
  • Do not let pets come in contact with your loved one.
  • Ensure that there is a constant flow of air in common spaces.
  • Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, cups, towels, etc.
  • Clean all highly-touched surfaces regularly.
  • Wash laundry and linens thoroughly. Wear gloves when handling the items that have been in contact with your loved one

Additional Resources

Staying informed with up to date information from credible sources will enhance your ability to manage your individual situation during this time. Please continue to learn more about COVID-19 by referencing the following links:

Resources

Becker, R., Ibarra, A. (2020). Where California Stands with Coronavirus Testing Right Now. Retrieved from https://calmatters.org/health/coronavirus/2020/03/california-coronavirus-testing-insurance-locations-rules/

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019). (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Coronavirus symptoms vs. flu and cold symptoms: What are the differences? Retrieved from https://abc7.com/6003136/?ex_cid=TA_KABC_FB&utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR3GDWmOrdsG2wBVK4JNZDEKmj-Imv5WBQ4o56mXG47mZw2t92dT4g49G78

Frequently Asked Questions. (2020). Retrieved from https://lacovidprod.service-now.com/rrs?id=rrs_faq

Godoy, M. (2020). A Guide: How to Prepare Your Home for Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/26/809650625/a-guide-how-to-prepare-your-home-for-coronavirus

Liasson, M. and Allyn, B. (2020). White House Says More Drive-Through Coronavirus Test Sites To Open This Week. Retrieved from
https://www.npr.org/2020/03/15/816117889/white-house-to-give-update-on-how-to-get-tested-for-coronavirus

Myth Busters (2020) Retrieved from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-2019). (2020). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

Testing. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

Travel Health Notices (2020). Retrieved from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Salahieh, N., Myers, E. (2020). Ventura County Setting up More Drive-Thru Coronavirus Test Sites as Number of Cases Rises. Retrieved from https://ktla.com/news/ventura-county-setting-up-more-drive-through-coronavirus-test-sites-as-cases-rise-to-13/

Wheeler, I. (2020). Two Coronavirus Test Centers Open in O.C., but Limited Operations Don’t Come Close to Meeting Demand. Retrieved from https://www.ocregister.com/2020/03/19/two-caronavirus-test-centers-open-in-o-c-but-limited-operations-dont-come-close-to-meeting-demand/