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Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus strain spreading from person-to-person. It is currently in the United States and many other countries, after originating in China. Health experts are concerned because this new virus has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people — especially people over age 60 or those who have weakened immune systems.
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.
COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
Health experts are still learning more about the spread and severity of illness COVID-19 causes.
Most coronavirus illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with novel coronavirus infection do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia. Elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk.
People who have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus have reported symptoms that may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Everyone should stay home if they are sick. Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should access testing, even if symptoms are mild. Testing capacity in Placer County has grown to support testing for mildly symptomatic individuals. However, at this time, there is no treatment specifically approved for people who have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care
Individuals who develop difficulty breathing, feel extremely tired, or were feeling better but then feel a lot worse should call their health care provider. If they will be going to the provider’s office or urgent care center, they should call ahead so that the health care provider can be prepared to care for them.
If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, the entire household should quarantine.
It’s important that everyone take steps to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, especially to protect those who are more vulnerable. Steps you can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold will also help prevent spread of coronavirus.
If you are traveling overseas, check for the latest COVID-19 Travel Alerts and follow the CDC’s Travelers’ Health guidance.
Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent COVID-19 infections.
There are no medications specifically approved for COVID-19. Most people with mild COVID-19 illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization.
If you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, follow this guidance (Spanish).
Everyone should stay home if they are sick until:
Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should access testing through medical providers or other community test sites, even if symptoms are mild. Testing capacity in Placer County has grown to support testing for mildly symptomatic individuals. However, at this time, there is no treatment specifically approved for people who have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care
If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, the entire household should stay home for at least two weeks.
Starting June 18, all Californians must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible. Learn more about the guidance and limited exceptions here. Face coverings can help prevent transmission of COVID-19 by catching respiratory droplets that can be expelled not just in coughs or sneezes but also through activities like talking or singing. The use of special masks called N95 respirators is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Read some Face Covering FAQs here.
Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should access testing through medical providers or upcoming OptumServe test sites, even if symptoms are mild. Testing capacity in Placer County has grown to support diagnostic testing for mildly symptomatic individuals. OptumServe sites can now test all individuals, regardless of symptoms.
Antibody (serologic) tests should not be used as the only way to diagnose someone as being currently sick with COVID-19. These types of tests are slowly becoming available through healthcare providers, but only some are FDA-approved. Check with your healthcare provider to see if they offer serologic (antibody) tests. A positive test result shows you have antibodies that likely resulted from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or possibly a related coronavirus. It’s unclear if those antibodies can provide protection (immunity) against getting infected again. This means that we do not know at this time if the antibodies detected make you immune to the virus. Click here for more information.
Testing capacity in Placer County has grown to support diagnostic testing for mildly symptomatic individuals. Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should access testing through medical providers or upcoming OptumServe test sites, even if symptoms are mild. OptumServe sites can now test all individuals, regardless of symptoms.
Testing is typically conducted by taking a swab at a health care provider’s office. Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.
OptumServe sites can now test all individuals, regardless of symptoms.
Testing Sites in Placer County:
Testing Sites in adjacent counties:
There are also at-home kits available (example).
No. If you believe you have the symptoms of coronavirus, call your health care provider to determine whether testing may be appropriate. All testing should be coordinated through your healthcare provider. Your health care professional will work with commercial labs or Placer County Public Health to complete testing if you meet criteria.
Anyone who meets the testing criteria can be tested at one of the county’s OptumServe testing sites. Uninsured and undocumented individuals may use the testing site, and their tests will be paid for by the state. OptumServe will generate a unique identification number for individuals who do not have a driver license. Call 1-888-634-1123 or visit lhi.care/covidtesting for more information.
Quarantine is put into place to prevent the possible spread of an infectious disease from someone who may have been exposed to the disease but is not yet sick. When people are quarantined, they are kept separate from others until they are out of the period when they could get sick.
Yes. Quarantine is for people who are not currently showing symptoms but are at increased risk for having been exposed to an infectious disease. Quarantine is for people who could become sick and spread the infection to others.
Isolation is used for people who are currently ill and able to spread the disease and who need to stay away from others in order to avoid infecting them.
When people are in self-quarantine, they have no symptoms, but because there is a possibility that they might have been exposed, they stay away from others in public settings. For at least 10 days from their last possible exposure, people in self-quarantine cannot go to work, school, or any public places where they could have close contact with others. Public health departments direct them in how to monitor their health so that should they develop symptoms, they can be quickly and safely isolated from all others, including those in their household.
On Thursday, March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring Californians to stay home in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, except for essential needs. Find current state information on COVID-19, including case data and resources, here.
The Placer County Health Officer had issued a directive earlier on March 19 followed by an order on April 10 which was amended April 16. The local order was allowed to expire on May 1 at 11:59 p.m.
However, the statewide order still applies to Placer County. For most people, this means you and those you live with should stay home or at their place of residence, except for permitted work, local shopping or other permitted errands, or as otherwise authorized.
Find Placer County case numbers here.
WHAT VULNERABLE MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY SHOULD DO:
WHAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY SHOULD DO
Personal precautions go a long way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Regional data on cases is available here. Placer County is not releasing specific details about COVID-19 cases to protect the confidentiality of individuals.
Since we know there is community spread, it is important to exercise hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette wherever you are.
Casual exposure to those with COVID-19, such as walking by a person, is considered low risk for exposure by the CDC. It’s nevertheless a good policy to clean and disinfect “high touch” surfaces at least once a day and encourage all employees to stay home when sick, cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands frequently.
Serology (antibody) tests are available with many local providers now. Public Health recommends you check with your provider (rather than a pop-up site) as they are most likely to have the FDA-approved tests. FDA approval is one indicator of test reliability.
Learn how you can help Placer County residents by donating to the COVID-19 Response Fund, an effort of the Placer Community Foundation to support local nonprofits serving those impacted by COVID-19.
Learn how you can help eastern Placer County residents impacted by COVID-19 by donating to the Tahoe Truckee Emergency Response Fund, which provides flexible resources to nonprofit organizations working within the Tahoe/Truckee community.
The Placer County Office of Education has developed a list of key resources that can serve residents’ needs during the COVID-19 outbreak, in partnership and consultation with several county departments including Public Health.
Antigen diagnostic tests quickly detect fragments of proteins found on or within the virus by testing samples collected from the nasal cavity using swabs.
Negative results should generally be treated as presumptive, do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions. If necessary, confirmation with a molecular assay for patient management may be performed. Negative results should be considered in the context of a patient’s recent exposures, history and the presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions, including infection control decisions.