Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
What You Need to Know
What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the new coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold.
What are the Symptoms?
Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people becoming severely ill, requiring admission to the hospital, and dying. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
People aged 65 years and older
People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Other high-risk conditions could include:
People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
People who have serious heart conditions.
People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment.
People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk.
People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk.
Can I Get Tested?
LA County Residents who are interested in being tested should first contact their Primary Care Provider or Healthcare Center via phone.
If you do not have access to this care or are unable to contact them, free testing is available across the County of Los Angeles. Priority is given for those who meet criteria below in accordance with new State guidelines. You may register for a testing appointment HERE.
At this time, COVID-19 testing is prioritized for Los Angeles County residents who are:
Symptomatic with the following symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
65 years or older
Those with a chronic medical condition
Essential workers, which includes: Social service employees; Critical government personnel; Health care professionals; Grocery and food service workers; Utility and other public employees
People in institutional congregate living settings, such as skilled nursing or long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional institutions.
For more information and FAQs on COVID-19 testing go HERE.
To register for a testing appointment go HERE.
10 TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
As cases and hospitalizations rise, many residents believe they need to get tested for COVID-19. However, Los Angeles County health officials stress that not everyone needs to be tested and emphasize the basic ways individuals and businesses can and should protect themselves from this virus.
1.) At this point in this rapidly-evolving crisis, it is important to reserve testing for those who have a medical or public health reason for it. While Los Angeles County currently has enough testing supplies to meet the needs of those who need to be tested, the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise here and throughout the country. Let’s work together to reserve testing for those with a medical or public health need.
2.) The common-sense rules still apply. Here are the most important things we as individuals and community members can do to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Leave home only for essential activities like work, medical appointments and grocery shopping.
- Wear a cloth face covering when you’re out in public.
- Stay at least six feet apart from people you don’t live with.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and don’t touch your face.
3.) Check with a health care provider if you think you need to get tested. It’s always best to work with your health care professional to determine the kind of care you need—just as you would with any other health care concern. Unless you have specific symptoms, exposures or risk factors, you may not need to be tested, and your health care provider can talk with you about your concerns and help determine if you need to be tested. If you don’t have a doctor, call 211 to get a referral.
4.) Know your risk level. According to the latest Public Health guidance, highest priority for testing should go to people with symptoms—including hospitalized patients, healthcare workers, first responders, employees and residents in group living settings, and people over 65 years old or with underlying health conditions that place them at higher risk of serious complications. Asymptomatic people— those without symptoms—also should be prioritized for testing if they are part of a public health investigation, if they live or work in high risk settings, such as skilled nursing facilities or homeless shelters, if they are a close contact of someone with a confirmed positive diagnosis of COVID-19, or if they are an essential worker.
- Prioritization of routine testing among other asymptomatic people is not recommended at this time. People over the age of 65 or with underlying conditions do not necessarily need to be tested unless they have symptoms, have had an exposure or have been told by public health to be tested. Once again, please check with your healthcare provider about your specific situation and let their medical advice guide you.
5.) Employers should not require a negative COVID-19 test result before employees return to work, and employees do not need to present a certificate saying they have tested negative, under the current guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
6.) Employers can offer and pay for COVID-19 testing as an occupational health and safety measure if an employer wishes to have its workforce get tested before returning to a work site. These employees should not seek a test at the City/County/State testing sites, which should be reserved for those who meet the medical or public health criteria for testing, and who do not have access to testing through their regular provider or health plan.
7.) Healthcare providers are required by a recent L.A. County Health Officer Order to provide their patients with access to COVID testing if they are symptomatic, are part of a public health investigation, or have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 infected person. The Health Officer order also encourages providers to bill private insurance plans for these services whenever possible. Patients are not allowed to be charged by their plan or provider for COVID-19 tests. Obtaining testing through a patient’s regular provider network helps to assure tailored clinical advice and facilitates good follow-up in the case of positive results.
8.) A COVID-19 test does not protect you from the virus, and a negative result should not be seen as a reason to engage in risky social behavior. A COVID-19 test does not guarantee that you do not have the virus; a false- negative test is possible. Also, even when accurate, a test result only reflects whether you have the virus at the moment you took the test. You could become positive at any time and an exposure to COVID-19 could happen immediately following your test.
9.) Don’t panic. Although rising case numbers and hospitalizations are cause for concern, we can still turn this around by following the common-sense steps listed above. Los Angeles County came together to flatten the curve earlier in this pandemic, even when testing was much more limited than it is today, and we can do it again. We are still in a phased reopening, with many more options for safe recreation available, and it’s up to all of us to behave in ways that enable us to move forward, instead of taking a step back.
10.) More testing capacity is on the way. Appointments may be limited at testing sites due to increased demand. The County and the City of Los Angeles are adding capacity at existing sites, as well as standing up new County- and City-funded sites in high-need communities in the weeks to come. Learn more here.
Remember: Regardless of test results, you still need to follow quarantine and isolation orders from Public Health or your provider. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you need to self-quarantine for 14 days, even if you test negative during that time. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should self- isolate in order to prevent spread of the virus to others and follow these steps:
- Keep your physician informed of your symptoms and consult with your provider about getting tested.
- If you are elderly or have an underlying health condition, seek medical care.
- If you don’t have a physician, call 211 to get connected to one.
- If you are having trouble breathing or have other severe symptoms, dial 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department immediately.
Small Business Resources
Mental Health Services
211 LA has developed a Category Search specifically for COVID-19 related information and services. This search will include resources for a wide range of topics, all of which can support those impacted by the novel coronavirus.
Access this search tool HERE.
You may also search for COVID-19 specific information and services by selecting the "Coronavirus" checkbox in the search filter tool.
211 LA is the entry point for a variety of food programs for Seniors & Persons with disabilities, including the Great Plates Delivered program and Critical Delivery Service, and can provide referrals to a wide variety of other food-related programs.
Search 211 LA's Food resources HERE.
CalFresh is California's food stamps (SNAP) program, which supports low-income households by providing monthly funds to buy food. During COVID-19 CalFresh has special additional services to support families, including buying groceries online at Walmart and Amazon for home delivery.
Small Business Resources
U.S Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Apply for a Loan by Dec.16, 2020 HERE.
For resources related to Income & Employment go HERE.
211 LA is an entry point to the Coordinated Entry System (CES) for Los Angeles families seeking housing assistance. 211 LA screens homeless families for eligibility and links them to the appropriate housing support service provider. Dial 2-1-1 to connect with this program.
For other Housing related services, such as shelters and housing expense assistance, use 211 LA's Housing Services search HERE.
NOTE: The unincorporated area rental assistance program is no longer accepting applications.
For resources on everything else:
Healthcare, Education, Legal Services, Re-Entry Services, Transportation, Utilities & Community Services, Immigration, LGBTQ, Seniors & Older Adults, Disability Services, Veteran Services, Youth Services and MORE
Use our Online Search or Dial 2-1-1.
Mental Health Services
During the COVID-19 crisis, Headspace and the LA County Department of Mental Health (DMH) have partnered to provide FREE support and resources for LA County residents. These services include meditations, sleep, and movement exercises designed to help you care for your mind.
Sign up for Headspace's services HERE.
For other mental health services go HERE.
COVID-19 EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE FOR UNINCORPORATED AREAS:
Applications for this program are now closed.
Here are the next steps:
1. 211 LA will review the 20,000+ applications received for eligibility.
2. 211 LA will share all eligible applications with the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) and their partner housing agencies.
3. LACDA and the partner agencies will conduct the lottery to select applicants to receive rental assistance.
4. The agencies will begin working with selected applicants until funds are exhausted.
5. Applicants will be notified once this process is complete.
This process may take several weeks as we have received over 20,000 applications.
We appreciate your patience in refraining from requesting updates or asking additional questions as staff are working to process these many applications.
Things You Can Do
Know how to keep yourself and others safe as LA County begins to reopen - lives depend on our choices and actions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Go HERE for information regarding the phased approach to reopening LA County Safely.
If you are seeking to be tested for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) complete this online form to see if you are eligible.
You can also connect with COVID-19 related resources and information by dialing 2-1-1 or searching our online database.
If you have been the victim of or witness to an act of violence, bullying, harassment, threat, or other act motivated by hate, please fill out the Hate Incident Report Form or dial 2-1-1 to file a report and be connected to support services.
Keep up to date with current best practices in safety and health by following trusted sources of information such as 211 LA, LA County's Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control's websites and social media accounts which can be found linked below.