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COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

What is LA County Public Health recommending I do right now?

The County’s Public Health Department has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread:

  • Avoid non-essential travel, public gatherings, and places where large groups of people congregate.
  • Event organizers should postpone or cancel non-essential gatherings of 250 or more until at least the end of March.
  • Smaller events should proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of six ft. per person.
  • Limit gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (people older than 65, pregnant women, and those with chronic illness) to no more than 10 people.
  • If you are mildly sick with a fever, stay home and 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.
  • Exclude employees and visitors with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms and visitors with recent travel to any country or region with significant community transmission (including communities in the US) from all schools, businesses, and gatherings of any size.
  • Follow all social distancing recommendations.
How can I get tested for COVID-19?

Call—don’t visit—your health care provider. Your doctor will advise you on the next steps. Do not call 911 or show up at the ER or Urgent Care to request testing for coronavirus/COVID-19. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

Who is testing recommended for?

If you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your health care provider.

Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or those that have suppressed immune systems should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.

If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips of face, contact your healthcare provider or emergency room and seek care immediately. Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you should be tested.

What symptoms should I watch for?

Common symptoms in a person infected with COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If you are having difficulty breathing or keeping fluids down, go to an emergency room or call 911 right away.

Should I stay home right now or is it OK to go out in public?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can reduce your exposure by practicing social distancing; staying home if you have any signs of illness; and washing hands often.

Social distancing is a very important intervention that all individuals can take to help stop spread of the virus. Social distancing means avoiding crowds and large gatherings such as weddings, concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith services, and mass transit. Additionally, it is best to maintain at least a six-foot distance between yourself and others.

We all can play a role by practicing social distancing to help reduce the strain on our hospitals and emergency rooms, and literally save the lives of our most vulnerable residents.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. It’s better for you and it keeps others from getting sick, too. Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transportation.

Call your doctor before going in and seeking care in person. Most people will get better with rest so there is usually no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms.

I am feeling sick, but I don’t have health insurance. Where can I go for help?

If you need help finding medical care, call the Los Angeles County Information line 2-1-1, which is available 24/7. You can also locate a provider by going to
If you are having difficulty breathing or keeping fluids down, go to an emergency room or call 911 right away.

I don’t think my employer offers paid sick leave, and I can’t afford to take off work, but I am feeling sick. What should I do?

You don’t have to be diagnosed with coronavirus/COVID-19 to take a paid sick day. You may be able to use Paid Sick Leave for prevention if you or a family member have been exposed to the virus. Visit the California Employment Development Department’s website to learn more about your eligibility for paid sick leave during this time.

I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed. What do I do?

When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease, you may feel anxious and show signs of stress—even when the outbreak affects people far from where you live and you are at low or no risk of getting sick. These signs of stress are normal and may be more likely in people with loved ones in parts of the world affected by the outbreak. During an infectious disease outbreak, care for your own physical and mental health and reach out in kindness to those affected by the situation.

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information and resources can be found on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Additional things you can do to support yourself during this time includes:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

The LA County Department of Mental Health has developed information on how to cope with stress during this time in 13 different languages common to the County’s residents. Click here to find the information in your language.