Here are six common questions about COVID-19 that you might be asking:
1. Should I be worried about my own health or that of a loved one?The risk of exposure is still considered low in San Diego and other areas, but this may change over time. Follow the news coming out of these public health agencies:
- San Diego County Office of Health and Human Services
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
2. What can I do to protect my family and myself?The virus is mainly spread from person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It’s also possible COVID-19 may be spread by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
Public health officials recommend that you:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, eyes and mouth
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing and sneezing, and then throw the tissue away and wash your hands
- Frequently wash your hands — at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap — or use a hand disinfectant with at least 60% alcohol
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant wipes or sprays (although no cleaning products are currently proven to be effective against COVID-19)
- Have a plan for yourself and your family if someone were to get sick
3. Who is at highest risk of complications if there is an outbreak in my area?Generally people over age 60 with underlying health conditions — such as congestive heart failure, diabetes or lung disease — or any person who has an impaired or weakened immune system are at higher risk of complications. The California Department of Public Health recommends that people at higher risk take precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
Unlike the flu, young children do not seem to be as seriously affected by COVID-19 as other vulnerable populations.
4. What should I do if I have symptoms of a respiratory illness?If you have been in close contact with a person under investigation for COVID-19 OR have recently traveled in an area with spread of COVID-19 AND you have a fever and respiratory illness, it is recommended to call ahead to your health care provider before you show up at their facility. This will allow them to make proper arrangements for your visit.
In addition, stay home when sick, cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, perform good hand-washing, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
5. Should I avoid large public gatherings?According to the Health and Human Services Agency of San Diego, all public or private gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited. However, non-essential gatherings of any size are strongly discouraged.
6. Should I wear a mask?The CDC does not recommend that people who are healthy wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. A face mask should be used only by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, or at the recommendation of a health care worker. This is to protect others from infection.
The use of face masks is crucial for health care workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings, whether at home or in a health care facility. Inappropriate use or hoarding of masks can affect supply chains and place these workers at higher risk of infection.
Learn what Sharp HealthCare is doing to screen for COVID-19.