HEALTH UPDATE: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
REVISED March 31, 2020
LA County: On March 27, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an addendum to the Safer at Home Order to include the temporary closure of public trails and trailheads, beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points. Read the Health Officer Order here.
DOWNLOADABLE BCHD RESOURCES:
COVID-19 Prevention Tips (11x17) | COVID-19 FAQ Flyer (8.5x11) | Handwashing Tips (11x17) | Stay at Home if you are Sick (11x17) | Practice Social Distancing (11x17) | Assistance for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities (8.5x11)
OTHER DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES:
Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Beach Cities Health District has established a Beach Cities COVID-19 Fund to help residents impacted by COVID-19. The purpose of this fund is to provide vulnerable groups (older adults and adults with underlying health conditions) who are income qualified with essentials like groceries and household and cleaning supplies. Residents wishing to submit donations by check can mail those to Beach Cities COVID-19 Fund, 1200 Del Amo Street, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.
Without a specific vaccine or treatment for this disease, social distancing is the most effective and readily available tool we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should be aware and practice social distancing. Social distancing measures include:
- Staying 6 ft apart from others
- Avoiding nonessential travel
- Avoiding public gatherings, places where large groups congregate and event venues
- Avoiding crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces
- Using verbal salutations in place of handshakes or hugs
The following groups are at higher risk for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19:
- Older adults (65 years and older)
- Early data suggest older adults are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. This may be because immune systems change with age, making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Older adults also are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with underlying health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, cancer or compromised immune systems
If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19 and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider or local health department before seeking care. Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to local emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care. If you have respiratory illness and want to know if you should be tested for COVID-19, it is best to call your health care provider or, if you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 for help finding a clinician near you.
COVID-19 testing needs to be medically necessary and is only recommended for people who are symptomatic. Decisions for testing is based on clinical presentation, travel history from an affected area or known exposure to a confirmed case. The Department of Managed Health Care directed all commercial and Medi-Cal health plans that they regulate to immediately reduce cost-sharing to zero for all medically necessary screening and testing for the COVID-19.
- As of March 31, there are 3,011 confirmed cases in LA County including 54 deaths
- On March 21, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an enhanced Health Officer Order to reconcile elements in the March 19 Health Officer Order necessary to be consistent with the Governor’s Order. The enhanced Order prohibits all gatherings and events, and clarifies that golf courses and personal grooming services (including hair and nail salons) are non-essential services that are closed. Read the Health Officer Order here.
- On March 19, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a Safer at Home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order further restricts and limits gatherings and requires the closure of malls, shopping centers, children's playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses. Essential businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals and pharmacies are open. Read the Health Officer Order here.
- On March 16, LACDPH issued a Health Officer Order to prohibit group events and gatherings, require social distancing measures and the closure of certain businesses, including bars, gyms, movie theaters and entertainment centers. Read the Order here.
- On March 9, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported it was investigating two additional cases of COVID-19. One case traveled through Japan. One case has an unidentified source of exposure, therefore LACDPH has determined this is the first possible case of community transmission in LA County.
- On March 4, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Public Health declared a local and public health emergency in response to increased spread of coronavirus across the country and six additional cases in LA County. LACDPH stated that none of the new cases are from community spread, and all of these new cases were exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts. None of these cases were linked to the first case reported in LA County in January.
- LA County officials recommend reviewing emergency supplies such as extra food, water and medications. For more emergency preparedness tips, visit ready.gov or bchd.org/emergency-preparedness.
- On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom also announced a Stay at Home order for the state of California: All individuals living in the State of California are to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction. More information here.
- On March 15, Governor Gavin Newsom directed closure of California's bars, brewpubs, wineries and nightclubs, and called on people over 65 and others at higher risk of serious complications from exposure to the virus to stay at home.
- On March 11, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California public health officials this evening issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines. Read more here.
- As of March 30, 2020, the CDC reports there have been 140,904 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 and 2,405 deaths detected through U.S. public health surveillance systems in 55 jurisdictions. Infections have been reported internationally.
- On March 16, the White House released Coronavirus Guidelines for America:
- If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school.
- If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household home. Do not go to work or school. Contact your medical provider.
- If you are an older adult or person with a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from other people
- Work or engage in schooling FROM HOME whenever possible
- If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
- Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
- Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts - use drive-thru, pick up or delivery options
- Avoid nonessential travel and activities
- Do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance
- Continue to practice good hygiene
- On January 31, the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency to aid the healthcare community in responding to the coronavirus.
- The first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread was reported in the U.S. on January 30, 2020.
Activities that can prevent the spread of more common respiratory infections, like the flu, can be effective at preventing the spread of novel coronavirus.
- When you’re sick, stay home and limit contact with others, even for mild illnesses
- If you are mildly sick:
- Stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer
- Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen
- Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick
- If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 211 for assistance finding support near you.
- If you are mildly sick:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Sick people can spread viruses through close contact with others such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands or sharing utensils.
- Wash your hands often 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 is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve or elbow (not your hands)
- Get your flu vaccine to protect yourself and your family, and reduce the potential strain on the healthcare system, which may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.
- Practicing simple social distancing strategies that limit your exposure to others who may be ill (verbal salutations in place of handshakes and hugs, not sharing utensils, cups and linens, staying six feet apart from others at public events)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. Germs can build up on frequently touched objects such as phones, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches and children's toys.
- Have an ample supply of essentials at home including water, food, hygiene, medications and pet food
- Plan for the possibility of business disruptions, school closures, and modifications/cancellations of select public events
- Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
- 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.
- Stay updated on Travel Health Notices from the CDC to avoid nonessential travel.
- Beware of scammers. There are no specific treatments or vaccinations for the coronavirus at this time.
Recommendations for Businesses, Schools and Community-Based Organizations:
LACDPH is also asking businesses, schools and community-based organizations to prepare plans that allow people to stay home if they are sick (even mildly) without the risk of being academically or financially penalized. This includes the option to work from home or to complete assignments remotely, where possible. LACDPH is requesting organizations do the following:
- Make sure you are using a robust, regular cleaning and disinfection schedule for frequently touched surfaces
- Ensure that your continuity of operations (COOP) plans are up to date, so their essential functions can continue
- Not require a doctor’s note for staff returning to work after being sick, when possible. This will reduce the strain on the healthcare system. These actions will go a long way to protect individuals and healthcare services that may be affected once novel coronavirus begins to spread more widely.
Background on coronavirus:
The coronavirus was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On Feb. 11, 2020, the World Health Organization named the disease coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and are common in animals including camels, cattle, cats and bats. They are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted between animals and people. Rarely, these animal coronaviruses can evolve into a new human coronavirus and infect people and then spread from person-to-person such as with MERS and SARS. Officials in China report that the novel coronavirus is spreading person-to-person.
- Common signs of infection: Respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
- In severe cases: pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death
How is it spread?
- Through coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching, shaking hands or 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
There is no specific treatment for illness caused by the novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment will be based on the patient's condition. There is no vaccine for novel coronavirus.