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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. Since March 19, 2020, 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 08.06.2020 – will be updated periodically (initial publish date: 03.05.2020)

To read more about what the New Normal could look like for us, click here.

Other related 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).
  • Infected surfaces
    • 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:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

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:

  • 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 such as 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

Other COVID-19 Related Articles:

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

covid 19 testing

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California is currently working to increase its testing capacity. 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).

On May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom released a new website that allows California residents to search for nearby test centers:

If you are interested in getting a COVID-19 test, first contact your health care provider to see if they offer any tests. If they do not or you do not have access to this care, you can visit your local county websites to find additional testing locations. Certain locations may limit appointments to only symptomatic individuals or on an appointment-only basis.

Testing in Los Angeles County (Schedule a COVID-19 Test, 2020).

  • Free COVID-19 testing is available to LA County residents. Priority for this testing is given to symptomatic persons and asymptomatic persons who are 65 or older, have chronic medical conditions, or are essential workers.
  • 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 now over 50 testing sites available in Orange County
    • Click here for the updated list of sites.
  • The following types of testing sites are available:
    • OC COVID-19 Testing Network
      • This testing site is for symptomatic individuals who cannot get a test through their health care provider. You can get a free medical assessment and test through the OC COVID-19 Testing Network. Health insurance is not needed.
      • Click here for a list of locations.
    • State of California OptumServe
      • These sites conduct a brief medical screening and offer free testing for those who cannot get a test through their health care provider. These sites are recommended for those who do not have symptoms and are essential workers or have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
      • Make an appointment by visiting the OptumServe Testing website or call (888) 634-1123.
    • Drive Thru Testing
      • Various clinics, Urgent Cares, and labs are available for testing. These locations will accept your health insurance with no copay, and some pay provide free testing for those without insurance.
      • Contact locations first to check if there are any costs and to schedule an appointment. Click here for a list of locations.

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
  • 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.


On May 1, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), granted emergency approval for the use of remdesivir, an antiviral drug for the treatment of COVID-19. There is still limited information about the safety and effectiveness of this drug to treat the virus (Coronavirus Update, 2020). The FDA reviewed data from a clinical trial of the drug and concluded that the potential benefits of remdesivir outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. Severe disease is determined by patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or breathing support (Coronavirus Update, 2020).  At this time, there are no other approved alternative treatments for COVID-19. The emergency approval of the drug also comes with some limitations (U.S. Food and Drug, 2020).

  • Remdesivir will be distributed to health care facilities with assistance from state and local authorities.
  • Remdesivir will only be used to treat adults and children with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, requiring supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
  • Remdesivir is administered in an in-patient hospital setting via intravenous (IV) infusion by a health care provider.

Even though the FDA has provided emergency approval for remdesivir to be used to treat this virus, it is not a cure or a vaccine. This drug is used to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients and may decrease the time it takes to recover. Thus, the best way to avoid contracting the virus is to continue to practice physical distancing, stay home, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.

Staying Safe During This Pandemic

As of May 6, 2020, there is one FDA approved drug to be used to treat COVID-19. However, keep in mind that 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

Safer at Home Updates

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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:


Becker, R., Ibarra, A. (2020). Where California Stands with Coronavirus Testing Right Now. Retrieved from

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019). (2020). Retrieved from

Coronavirus symptoms vs. flu and cold symptoms: What are the differences? Retrieved from

Coronavirus Test. (2020). Retrieved from.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Potential COVID-19 Treatment. (2020). Retrieved from

COVID-19 Testing and Screening. (2020). Retrieved from

Food and Drug Administration. (2020). Retrieved from

Frazee, G. (2020). How uninsured patients can get help during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from

Frequently Asked Questions. (2020). Retrieved from

Inpatient Hospital Care. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-2019). (2020). Retrieved from

Schedule a COVID-19 Test. (2020). Retrieved from

Testing. (2020). Retrieved from