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Coronavirus and COVID-19 Information: Santa Clara County and Bay Area, California

Trustworthy information about COVID-19

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

The CDC lists these symptoms of COVID-19:  

  • fever
  • chills and repeated shaking
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • cough
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • loss of taste or smell.

Other public health sources add that sometimes people with COVID-19 also have

  • very low oxygen (measured by a pulse oximeter) without difficulty breathing
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • dizzyness or disorientation

People ill with COVID-19 might not have all those symptoms, and some have no symptoms at all. It can be difficult to tell COVID-19 at first from similar diseases - the following chart may help.

chart of symptoms of COVID-19, cold, flu, allergies, asthma

Infographic courtesy of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

What are the Danger Signs?

It's estimated that 80% of  COVID-19 cases will be mild - but that information doesn't help much, when trying to decide whether to seek medical attention. This article explaining the symptoms of moderate vs serious disease may help to decide when to make that call, and gives key points of information to tell your healthcare team.

The Centers for Disease Control warns to get medical treatment immediately if these symptoms appear:

  • trouble breathing
  • persistent pain or pressure in the chest [or back]
  • new confusion, or inability to arouse
  • bluish lips or face.

What if I have symptoms of COVID-19? What if someone in my family does?

Now that coronavirus test kits are more widely available, people who have symptoms that fit the profile of COVID-19 disease should:

  • get medical attention, if possible, to assess the severity of their symptoms; 
  • get tested (with the swab coronavirus RNA test);
  • self-quarantine until the test results come back; and
  • clean and disinfect key areas daily.

Check with the healthcare provider before showing up at a medical facility. If your health plan offers medical advice by telephone, call them. If you don't have that option, don't just show up at an urgent care or emergency room -- call ahead first. It is vital that health facilities have time to prepare before you arrive, to protect staff and the other patients from potential infection. They may direct you to test in the parking lot, or somewhere else besides the ER, in order to protect people coming in for treatment for other medical problems.

If your healthcare provider doesn't offer tests, see this page for links to find open testing locations.

If you feel sick and do not have health insurance at present, call your local county public health department  for instructions.

 

While researchers are working at top speed to find therapy for COVID-19, at this point, there is no proven treatment.

People with mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 can take supportive care steps to manage this disease - although they should seek medical attention ASAP if any of the danger signs of severe disease are present.

Supportive care includes:

  • lots of rest;
  • stay hydrated (drink lots of liquids); and
  • use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to lower a fever or relieve pain as needed.

 

If you are sharing a home with someone who has COVID-19, do your best to isolate them in the home away from everyone else. If they can't be in a room by themselves, with a door that closes, see if they can have a bed to themselves, with screens or curtains or furniture to separate them from other people in the home. Sick people should wear masks to avoid sharing the virus. Disinfecting bathroom surfaces after each use can protect others in the home; ditto eating alone (not sharing meals with other people), and carefully washing dishes and utensils afterwards.

If one person in the household is sick, we should assume that the other people sharing that space are sick, too, and just don't have symptoms [yet]. Everyone in that household should self-quarantine as best they can. Since people can continue to shed coronavirus even after they start to feel better, it's safest to follow the CDC precautions (see below) for some days afterwards. Later, if someone else in the household gets sick, that resets the self-quarantine clock for everyone in that household.

(Ask your health care team about when/if the other people in the household should get tested with the coronavirus RNA swab test.)

 

If you - or someone in your home - had what you think was a mild case of COVID-19, and got better, when is it safe to consider it a full recovery? Check with your / their healthcare provider! The current CDC guidelines are:

Generally, the CDC considers someone to be recovered when:

  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed without any fever (or medication for fever), and 
  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) improved, and
  • EITHER - At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, OR two negative tests, at least 24 hours apart.

What if I'm Pregnant, or Have an Infant?

Very little is known yet about the effect of COVID-19 on pregnancies, or in infants or toddlers. 

Hospitals are unsure how to best protect expectant mothers and newborns during this pandemic, and may decide to limit visitors or restrict partners' access during childbirth. Ideally, it would be best to talk with obstetricians and maternity unit staff ahead of time, to have an idea of what to expect.

The CDC's guidance includes advice on pregnancy and delivery, on breastfeeding mothers with sus[ected or confirmed COVID-19 infections, and on new baby care during this pandemic.

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