- Health and Human Services
- Health Services Divison
- COVID-19 Information
- About COVID-19
- COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
- COVID-19 Testing and Prevention FAQs
COVID-19 Testing and Prevention
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE THE RESULTS?
Depending on the testing method and testing provider, rapid results can be available in a matter of hours, where standard testing can take from 48-72 hours. When there is a surge in tests being processed, sometimes test results can take up to 7 days.
If I am in a high-risk category what can I do to protect myself?
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself such as:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick and stay away from large gatherings and crowds.
- Stay at home as much as possible. Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in public areas.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Face masks - Are they effective in Prevention?
- Common surgical masks block droplets from coming out into the air from a person who is ill.
- Masks are NOT tight enough to prevent what is already in the air from getting in.
- N95 masks are not only pricey, they are difficult to use without training and must be fitted to work correctly.
Gloves - are they effective in prevention?
Wearing gloves is NOT a substitute for practicing excellent hand hygiene.
- Gloves can pick up and carry contaminants. If you are wearing gloves for a long period of time you could be spreading germs to many other surfaces and people.
- Hands can become contaminated when wearing gloves and when removing them.
- If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes while wearing gloves you can still become sick.
- The best option for trying to prevent illness is practicing excellent hand hygiene.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for no less than 20 seconds.
- Not sure how long 20 seconds are? Sing the Happy Birthday Song.
- Use hand sanitizer that has an equal to or greater ethanol content of 60% or an equal to or greater isopropanol of 70%.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The CDC has updated its list to include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Shortness of breath has also been changed to "shortness of breath or difficulty breathing." The full list now is:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The CDC recommends that people seek medical attention immediately if they develop any of these emergency warning signs:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
NOTE: Please consult your physician if you are experiencing symptoms that are non-emergent. If you are emergent and have been in contact with a person known to have COVID-19 please disclose that to dispatch.
I HAVE SYMPTOMS - SHOULD I BE TESTED?
Yes. 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 the ongoing spread of COVID-19: Contact a health care provider. Call ahead so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
- Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild.
- Underlying medical conditions include people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung diseases such as COPD and asthma.
- If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or 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.
- Depending on Statewide demand, results can take up to 6 days.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE AND I NEED SCREENING OR TREATMENT FOR COVID-19?
- Check with your local community health center or hospital to see if fees for testing can be waived
- See if you’re eligible for Medi-Cal
- See if you’re eligible for Covered California
ARE ANTIBIOTICS EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING AND TREATING THE NEW CORONAVIRUS?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for the COVID-19, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
DO VACCINES AGAINST PNEUMONIA PROTECT YOU AGAINST THE NEW CORONAVIRUS?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, and WHO is supporting their efforts. Although these vaccines are not effective against COVID-19, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.