Information for Healthcare Professionals & Facilities

Updated March 25, 2020:

For the latest health alerts from Sonoma County, see Health Provider Alerts »

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County Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

The Department of Health Services (DHS) is working closely with our public health partners and healthcare providers to take action to isolate and test any high-risk individuals for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of disease and protect the public’s health.

DHS staff will coordinate with healthcare providers to ensure that all patients with fever or other respiratory symptoms who meet criteria for testing due to recent travel to countries affected by COVID-19, or contact with someone diagnosed with novel coronavirus, will remain isolated until their test results are available. The Sonoma County Disease Control team and Public Health Lab are coordinating laboratory testing with the CDC.

CDC Guidance for Healthcare Professionals

CDPH Guidance for Healthcare Facilities on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The following was extracted from California Department of Public Health’s “Guidance for Healthcare Facilities on Preparing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” dated March 3, 2020.  For updated information, please see Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website.

This AFL provides healthcare facilities new and updated COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include:

  • Interim guidance healthcare facilities should follow to prepare for community transmission of COVID-19
  • Strategies to prevent spread in long-term care (LTC) facilities
  • Use of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (N95s) that have exceeded their manufacturer-designated shelf life

Download Guidance for Healthcare Facilities on Preparing for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) »
– California Department of Public Health, dated March 3, 2020 (PDF: 274 kB)

Frequently Asked Questions

Healthcare Professionals

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) is recommending that organizations that primarily serve seniors or medically vulnerable individuals consider implementing the following social distancing practices:

  • ensure they are extra vigilant in following recommendations regarding cleaning of high touch surfaces, including counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables;
  • take all necessary measures to ensure all employees, visitors, and persons served who are experiencing any symptoms of illness stay home and avoid contact with others; and
  • enhance screening of visitors, staff, and residents for symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing).

We have information about  coronavirus for clinicians at: SoCoEmergency.org/coronavirus. For further details, including interim infection prevention recommendations, visit the CDC coronavirus webpage for providers: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.

In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) care providers are designated as essential workers and should continue to provide care for their client(s), as long as both the care provider and their client have not tested positive for COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

No. Please have your primary care provider contact us to obtain a PUI.

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Testing

Because of the limited number of available tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially recommended testing only people who had potentially been exposed to the virus or those with active symptoms.

On March 4, 2020 the CDC expanded its recommendations to allow anyone with symptoms to be tested, upon a physician’s approval. Currently, the CDC is asking doctors and hospitals to minimize unnecessary testing and evaluate a patient’s exposure risks before ordering tests.

Priorities for testing, according to the CDC are hospitalized patients who have active symptoms; older adults with symptoms; and people with chronic medical conditions: heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, and others.

The County Public Health Lab is up and running and able to meet the needs for testing for COVID-19 in our community and our commercial labs such as Quest and Lab Corps are also able to test, and quality assured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently all testing is conducted through healthcare providers, based on their clinical determination that a patient has symptoms and/or history of exposure to a known case of coronavirus.

Please check Sonoma County’s Health Alerts on the Healthcare Professionals and Facilities webpage to see populations that are being prioritized for testing at this time.

Call our Disease Control Unit (healthcare providers) to confirm appropriateness of testing and to review testing procedures and locations.  CDC recommendations related to appropriate infection control strategies for suspected COVID-19 cases.

See the Public Health Lab criteria for priority testing.  The Disease Control phone number to request a PUI# is also located on that page.

Testing for patients who do not fall into the Public Health Lab criteria may be ordered through private labs based on clinician discretion.

Current specimen guidelines for the Sonoma County Public Health Lab.  CDC’s guidelines regarding specimen collection and testing.

Please communicate needs to the Emergency Operations Center by completing this request form and email to CoastalValleysEMSAgency@sonoma-county.org.

Sonoma County is taking a proactive approach to testing for coronavirus in the community. In addition to local tests ordered by health care providers, the County will conduct a “more vigilance” program to screen 60 to 80 patients with cold symptoms. Half of these patients will have pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or a weak immune system. The other half will be healthy and will only have cold symptoms.

These tests will be conducted at three to four medical sites scattered throughout the county, potentially including emergency centers, clinics, and hospital emergency departments. The reason for this proactive program is to gather informational data and more quickly determine if the coronavirus is being passed from person to person in Sonoma County. This testing program remains consistent with current CDC and CDHP recommendations on who should be screened.

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