Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is COVID-19? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals and humans. This novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus that has not been previously detected in animals or humans. The source of this virus is not yet known.

Video created by World Health Organization 

What should you do if you think you’re sick?

Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath

COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness.

What if I have symptoms?

Patient: If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider before seeking care. Contacting them in advance will make sure that people can get the care they need without putting others at risk. Please be sure to tell your health care provider about your travel history. You can also take the following precautionary measures: avoid contact with sick individuals, wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Health Care Provider: Patients who may have infection with this novel coronavirus should wear a surgical mask and be placed in an airborne infection isolation room. If an airborne infection isolation room is not available, the patient should be placed in a private room with the door closed. Health care providers should use standard, contact and airborne precautions and use eye protection. Please see “Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China” for more information about infection control. The Public Health Department will issue All Facility Letters to regulated healthcare facilities within California with updated information and guidance; these can be found on the AFL webpage.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization. For patients who are more severely ill, hospitals can provide supportive care. We are continuing to learn more about this novel coronavirus and treatment may change over time.


How is it decided whether a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 can self-isolate at home or must be confined to a hospital or elsewhere?

Local health departments are working in partnership with the California Department of Public Health and the CDC, and making determinations on whether a person ill with COVID-19 requires hospitalization or if home isolation is appropriate. That decision may be based on multiple factors including severity of illness, need for testing, and appropriateness of home for isolation purposes.


What is the difference between COVID-19 and other coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are some coronaviruses that commonly circulate in humans. These viruses cause mild to moderate respiratory illness, although rarely they can cause severe disease. COVID-19 is closely related to two other animal coronaviruses that have caused outbreaks in people—the SARS coronavirus and the MERS (middle east respiratory syndrome) coronavirus.

Information from California Department of Public Health.


Order of the health officer of the County of Santa Clara directing all individuals living in the county to shelter at their place of residence except that they may leave to provide or receive certain essential services or engage in certain essential activities and work for essential businesses and governmental services; exempting individuals experiencing homelessness from the shelter in place order but urging them to find shelter and government agencies to provide it; directing all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations in the county; prohibiting all non essential gatherings of any number of individuals; and ordering cessation of all non-essential travel.

View Full Order – March 16, 2020





Trú ẩn tại nơi (Shelter in Place) có ý nghĩa gì đối với tôi?

Ngày 16/03/20: Thông báo dịch vụ công cộng (PSA): Trú ẩn tại nơi có ý nghĩa gì đối với tôi? Nếu bạn có thắc mắc về lệnh mới, vui lòng truy cập trang Câu hỏi thường gặp trên trang mạng của chúng tôi: Làm rõ cho dễ hiểu: PSA này đã được ghi lại vào thứ Hai, ngày 16/03/20. Lệnh này có hiệu lực từ hôm nay, thứ Ba, ngày 17/03/20

Posted by County of Santa Clara Public Health Department on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

¿Qué significa Reclusión en Casa para mí?

03/16/20: Anuncio de Servicio Público del Ejecutivo del Condado David Campos: ¿Qué significa Reclusión en Casa para mí? Si tiene preguntas sobre la nueva orden, visite la página de preguntas frecuentes de nuestro sitio web: Aclaración: Este anuncio de servicio público se grabó el lunes 16/03/20. La orden entra en vigor hoy martes 17/03/20

Posted by County of Santa Clara Public Health Department on Tuesday, March 17, 2020


3/16/20 PSA:“就地避難”對我意味著什麼?“如果您對新命令有疑問,請訪問我們網站上的常見問題解答網頁: 澄清:此PSA於2020年3月16日星期一錄製。本命令實際上已於2020年3月17日星期二凌晨12:01生效

Posted by County of Santa Clara Public Health Department on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

FAQs on Covid-19 | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文

What is the risk of my child becoming sick with COVID-19?

Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they have COVID-19 infection on CDC’s current Risk Assessment page.

How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection?

You can encourage your child to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by teaching them to do the same things everyone should do to stay healthy.

  • Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 at Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus and at Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities. Additional information on how COVID-19 is spread is available at How COVID-19 Spreads.

Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?

No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.

Should children wear masks?

No. If your child is healthy, there is no need for them to wear a facemask. Only people who have symptoms of illness or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear masks.

FAQs for Order (information provided by SCC Public Health)

What does this Order do?

This Order requires that most people stay home starting as soon as possible, but no later than 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, unless they are engaged in certain “Essential Activities” which are discussed more below.  For most people, this means you and those you live with should remain at home. You are allowed to leave your home for specified reasons to make sure you have the necessities of life (discussed more below) such as getting food and medical supplies.  You are also allowed to go outside to take care of a pet or for exercise so long as you do not congregate in a group and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people.  If you are sick you should self-isolate, including, to the extent you can, from others you live with (more on that below).

When does the Order go into effect?

The Order went into effect at 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

How long does the Order last?

The Order is currently set to last for three weeks – until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The County Health Officer may choose to shorten or extend the time period.  How long the restrictions take place will depend on what the County Health Officer decides is necessary to protect public health.

Can the Order be changed?

Yes.  The Health Officer may make changes to the Order as more information emerges about the public health situation and issue new orders and directive as conditions warrant.  Check the County website at regularly for updates.  The County is working with the media to share important updates and information.

Where is the Order in effect?

This Order (or a similar order) is in effect across the six most populous counties of the Bay Area, including in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties.

Who issued the Order?

This Order was issued by Health Officers of Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties and the City of Berkeley.  Those health professionals have the authority under state law to issue Orders to protect the health and welfare of everyone in their jurisdictions.

Is this mandatory or is it just guidance?

Yes, it’s mandatory.  This Order is a legal Order issued under the authority of California law.  You are required to comply, and it is a crime (a misdemeanor) not to follow the Order.

I run an Essential Business, as defined by the Order.  Do I need to get an official letter of authorization from the County to operate?

No.  If your business is in the list of Essential Businesses provided in the Order, then you may operate it.  You do not need to obtain any specific authorization from the County to do so.

I work for an Essential Business, as defined by the Order.  Do I need to have a letter from my employer or other documentation to travel?

No.  You do not need to carry official documentation demonstrating that you are exempt under the Order.  But be prepared to explain if requested by law enforcement why your travel is authorized under the Order.

FAQs for Shelter in Place | English | Español | (information provided by SCC Public Health)

What does it mean to “shelter in place?”

The term “shelter in place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the exceptions listed in the Order (discussed more below).

What is the difference between “sheltering in place” and “social distancing”?

Sheltering in place is a more rigorous form of social distancing.

Sheltering in place means you:

  • Must stay at home
  • Can only leave your home for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” or for “essential travel,” which are defined in the Order (see above in the Order section)
  • Cannot host or attend any gatherings

You should also maintain 6 foot distance from other people as much as possible, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or use hand sanitizer), frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces, and stay home if you are sick.

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need or I am not performing an essential activity?

No.  For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

Can I still get my mail and deliveries?

Yes.  You will still be able to get mail and other deliveries at your home.

Can I still order the things I need online and have them delivered to my residence?

Yes.  Businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are “essential businesses” that may continue to operate.

Can I go out to do laundry or have my laundry done?

Yes.  Maintain social distancing.

Can I get my prescriptions or other health care needs?  Can I leave home to go to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled?

Yes.  Drug stores and other medical supply stores are allowed to operate.  When possible you should have prescription medicines and health care supplies delivered to your home.

What if I need to get healthcare from my medical provider?

You can still get your health needs addressed.  Contact your health care provider to see if they are providing regular services.  Some services, especially elective procedures, may be postponed or canceled.  If you are feeling sick, please first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center.  Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency.

Can I still seek non-essential medical care like eye exams, teeth cleaning, elective procedures, etc.?

Generally you should postpone non-essential medical and dental care if possible. If it can wait, then wait. Check with your provider for specific guidance. They may cancel services. You should not expose yourself or others by pursuing health care or maintenance care that can wait a few weeks.

Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?

No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items. Stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally follow. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.

What should I do if I’m sick?  If I or a family member need immediate medical attention, can I leave home to go to the doctor or hospital?

If you are feeling sick, first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. But you can and should seek medical advice if you or a family member is sick. If it is not an emergency, please contact your primary care provider to determine next steps. Also, you can check online resources to help you assess symptoms if you are worried about whether you or a loved one has COVID-19.  You should check for more information. Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves?  Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be extremely cautious when providing care to vulnerable people and ensure that you protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

You may visit a hospital or other healthcare facility only for the purpose of obtaining health care services and supplies. Non-essential visitations are barred. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or residential care facility other than for the purpose of securing care. People over 60 years of age are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are permitted to pick up any of your needs. You can also order food and other supplies, and have them delivered to your home. If you think you might be eligible for meals on wheels, call 408-350-3246 to start the eligibility intake process.

Can I leave home to go to my church, synagogue, or mosque?

No. For your safety as well as the safety of your fellow worshippers, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. Places of worship may offer remote access to services, such as by emails, video streaming, or teleconference.

The Order prohibits non-essential travel on foot or bike — does that mean that I can’t go on a walk or take a bike ride?

No. The Order allows you to go outside for exercise so long as you maintain social distancing (more than 6 feet from persons who are not part of your household). This includes activities like walks or hikes or bike rides or going to a park.

Can I leave home to exercise?

If you will be outdoors and not in close contact with other people, yes. Otherwise, no. Fitness centers, exercise gyms, recreational centers, golf courses, and public pools are not permitted to operate.

Can golf courses remain open?


I become anxious when cooped up in my house.  Am I allowed to go to a park or on a hike?  Can I travel to a County park or open space?

Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and well-being, and is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and engage in other similar activities, but you should maintain social distance (more than six feet away from persons who are not part of your household) to avoid spread of the virus.

Can I go shopping for things other than food/groceries?

Yes. You can shop for anything that is related to health care, hardware supplies, supplies needed to telecommute, and supplies essential to safety and sanitation.  But you should minimize unnecessary trips.

Can I go to a bar/nightclub/theater?

No. Entertainment venues are not allowed to operate.

Can I go to a restaurant, café, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?

Yes, but only to pick up food. You cannot dine, eat, or drink in or around the facility.

Can I walk my dog/pet?

Yes. Be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from others who are not part of your household.

Can I go to a vet or pet hospital if my pet is sick?

Yes. Please call first to determine if the vet has any restrictions in place.

I don’t cook—how can I purchase meals?

Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and similar establishments are encouraged to remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.

How can I access free or reduced price meals for myself or my family?

Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food or meals to the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. You must pick up and take away the food or have it brought to you. Do not eat on the premises.

Can I take my kids to the park and can we use playgrounds?

The Order allows you to engage in outdoor activities, provided that you maintain adequate social distancing. While we encourage use of parks, we strongly discourage the use of playgrounds because they include high-touch surfaces, and because it is typically not possible to maintain social distancing at playgrounds.

Can I carry out a court-ordered visit with my kids?

Yes. The Order exempts travel by court order or law enforcement.