The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. Since March 19, 2020, here in Southern California, our lives have been about staying at home and practicing physical distancing. We should continue to stay informed and up to date with COVID-19 news and changes. 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.
As of 3.12.2021 – will be updated periodically (initial publish date: 03.05.2020)
To read more about Life and lifestyle during COVID-19, click here.
Other related and new articles:
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 spreads easily and rapidly in these ways:
Person-to-person (primary form of transmission)
The virus can spread through close contact with an infected person though exposure to droplets from coughs or exhales (Q&A on Coronaviruses, 2020).
The virus 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).
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 July 9, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the symptoms for the virus include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- New loss of taste or smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
These known symptoms have shown to appear between 2-14 days after initial exposure. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of the virus, 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:
Emergency Warning Signs
- 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.
It is also important to keep in mind about different symptoms compared to others. Read more here: https://www.keiro.org/features/cold-flu-covid
Other COVID-19 Related Articles:
- Senior Store Hours, and Shopping Precautions
- Stay at Home Order (From March 2020)
- COVID-19 Stimulus Package
Testing for the Virus
There are several public health laboratories that offer COVID-19 testing (Testing in U.S., 2020). If you suspect you have the virus 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).
Testing in California
In the state of California, there are multiple testing locations now available. The California Department of Public Health has set four priority categories for who should get tested.
On May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom released a new website that allows California residents to search for nearby test centers: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Nearby/index.html?appid=43118dc0d5d348d8ab20a81967a15401
Testing in Los Angeles County (COVID-19: Testing, 2020).
Free COVID-19 testing is available to LA County residents. LA County and LA City have drive-up testing available. To register for an appointment, click here. LA County residents can also register with a state testing site such as OptumServe or Verily.
Testing in Orange County (COVID-19 Testing, 2020)
There are over 50 testing sites available in Orange County. They offer an easy-to-follow flowchart to guide you if you ever have symptoms.
There are four types of testing available for Orange County: Drive Thru Testing, OC COVID-19 Testing Network for those with Symptoms, OC COVID-19 Testing Super Sites, and State of California OptumServe. All of these accept those who cannot get a test through their health care provider or uninsured.
Testing in Ventura County (COVID-19 Health Care)
Testing capabilities in Ventura County have been expanded for essential workers and residents who have symptoms of the virus. The test is free, and you do not need to have health insurance or a doctor’s referral. Those with symptoms or have had known exposure to someone with COVID-19, call OptumServe at 888.634.1123 or visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting. Residents can also call the County of Ventura Testing Hotline at 805.652.7660
Residents will answer questions to determine the need for the test. If a test is needed, an appointment will be given at one of the State testing sites or County Urgent Care locations. If you do not have symptoms or close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and would like to be tested, contact OptumServe.
- Medicare – Medicare Part B covers COVID-19 testing. This test is used to see if you have the virus. The test is covered when your doctor or other health care provider orders one (Coronavirus Test, 2020). Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care when all of the following are true (Inpatient Hospital Care, n.d.). You are admitted to the hospital as an inpatient after an official doctor’s order, which says you need inpatient hospital care to treat your illness or injury. The hospital accepts Medicare. In certain cases, the Utilization Review Committee of the hospital approves your stay while you’re in the hospital.
- Uninsured (Frazee, 2020) – The testing is free for those without insurance.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted approval and emergency approval for the two treatments below, after concluding that the potential benefits of these treatments outweigh the known and potential risks of using these drugs, specifically for severely ill patients.
On October 22, 2020, the FDA granted approval for the use of the antiviral drug Veklury, also called remdesivir, for the treatment of COVID-19. Previously in May, this drug was granted emergency approval for patients with severe cases of COVID-19 that required supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation. In August, this use was expanded the use to all hospitalized patients. Currently, this treatment has been granted approval following several clinical trials of the drug testing its effectiveness. The drug is approved for use in patients over the age of 12 and weighing over 88 pounds. This drug is only authorized to be used in hospitals or health care settings that offer similar care.
On August 23, 2020 FDA granted emergency approval for the use of convalescent plasma. Convalescent refers to anyone recovering from a disease. Plasma is the part of the blood that contains antibodies, or proteins made in response to infections (FDA, 2020). Thus, plasma from patients who have had COVID-19 may contain antibodies that can fight against the disease. The emergency use authorization allows for convalescent plasma to be used in COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized (FDA, 2020). This treatment is still being investigated but has been granted emergency approval because the potential benefits of using plasma outweigh the potential risks of using it.
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years or older. Additionally, on December 18, 2020, the FDA approved EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 years or older. The EUA allows faster access to medical products during a health emergency when no other approved options are available (Treatment, 2020). California formed a Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to assess the safety in the vaccine and has confirmed that it is safe and effective (Food and Drug Administration, 2020). Since the vaccine was recently approved, there is a limited supply available. The state will decide how it will distribute the vaccine. To learn more about the priority of distribution, visit the state’s website here.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that residents ages 65 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. More clarification on how to receive the vaccine will become available in the coming weeks. Vaccine distribution will take time. Continue to wear masks, stay physically distant and stay home as much as possible.
On February 27, 2021, the FDA issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for a third COVID-19 vaccine (Food & Drug Administration, 2021). The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is authorized to be used in individuals 18 years or older. This third vaccine is different than the other two currently being distributed, where the vaccine uses a piece of the DNA used to make the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The virus used in the vaccine cannot replicate in the human body to cause illness. Once a person receives this vaccine, the body’s immune system s triggered to produce an immune response about the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, the Janssen vaccine is administered as a single dose. This vaccine has shown to be 66% protective against moderate to severe COVID-19 illness and 85% effective in protecting against severe illness with COVID-19. On April 13, 2021, FDA and CDC announced a temporary pause of the use of the Janssen vaccine.
To know if you are eligible to receive a vaccine or not (or sign up for updates), visit here.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please read Keiro’s article here. (More info on Janssen vaccine will be provided as we obtain new information about vaccine distribution)
Beach City Health District created an easy to understand chart for Los Angeles County’s vaccine priority here.
Vaccine Resources by County
Vaccine distribution and priority lists vary by county. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in your county, view the links below. These resources provide more information on who is eligible to receive the vaccine, how to schedule an appointment, and how to sign up for vaccine notifications.
- Los Angeles County: LA County Public Health
- Orange County: Othena – This is the platform/application Orange County is using for vaccine distribution.
- Ventura County: Ventura County Recovers
Staying Safe During This Pandemic
The most effective way to protect yourself and others against the virus is to be prepared and practice good self-management techniques such as:
- Physical 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, doorknobs, etc.)
- Wear a face mask when out in public
Government Resources and Health Orders
Refer to our fact sheet on, Lifestyle During COVID-19 for updates on Health Orders. Here are other websites that may be helpful:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Website
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Handwashing Website
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s What to Do if You are Sick Website
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Coronavirus Website (English & Japanese)
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health FAQ Handout (English)
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health FAQ Handout (Japanese)
- World Health Organization’s Q&A Website
Myths and Scams (updated)
View our articles on COVID-19 myths and scams here:
AARP. (2020). Scam Fears Mount as COVID-19 Vaccines Near Approval. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2020/coronavirus-vaccine-scams.html
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
Coronavirus Test. (2020). Retrieved from. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/coronavirus-test
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Potential COVID-19 Treatment. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-issues-emergency-use-authorization-potential-covid-19-treatment
COVID-19 Testing and Screening. (2020). Retrieved from https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-and-screening
COVID-19 Testing (2020). Retried from https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/
Food and Drug Administration. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/media/137564/download
Food and Drug Administration. (2020). Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
Food & Drug Administration. (2021). FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-emergency-use-authorization-third-covid-19-vaccine
Source: Food and Drug Administration. (2020). Donate COIVD-19 Plasma. Retrieved on August 27, 2020 from https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/donate-covid-19-plasma
Frazee, G. (2020). How uninsured patients can get help during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/how-uninsured-patients-can-get-help-during-covid-19-pandemic
Inpatient Hospital Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/inpatient-hospital-care
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine
Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-2019). (2020). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses
Schedule a COVID-19 Test. (2020). Retrieved from https://lacovidprod.service-now.com/rrs
Testing. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html
Treatment. (2020). Retrieved from https://covid19.ca.gov/treatment-for-covid-19/
U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2020). FDA Approves First Treatment for COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-treatment-covid-19
Vaccines. (2020). Retrieved from https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/