Frequently Asked Questions about Novel Coronavirus

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The County of Sonoma has declared a Local Public Health Emergency as well as a Local Emergency to respond to COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus.

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) provide helpful answers to keep you safe and informed. If you have additional questions, please visit Coronavirus Information or call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211.

 Additional official information can be found at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Shelter in Place – Order of the Health Officer

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In Sonoma County

On March 2, 2020, Sonoma County declared a Local Emergency and a Local Public Health Emergency, and have mobilized staff throughout the County to assist in keeping our community safe from the spread of coronavirus. On March 17, 2020, the Health Officer issued a shelter in place order limiting all but essential business and government operations to mitigate the spread of the disease.

County Health officials are coordinating with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor local coronavirus cases. Officials are also working closely with local schools, health care providers, and other partners to share guidance and tools to keep people safe.

The County maintains official emergency information for the public at SoCoEmergency.org and is working with local jurisdictions to ensure consistent, accurate, messaging for the community. All information is available in both English and Spanish, and in numerous other languages using Google Translate.

HIPAA requires that we do not release patient information that could be used to identify a patient, including the location of a patient. Citation: 45 CFR 164.514. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a 1996 Federal law that restricts access to individuals’ private medical information.

California’s price gouging law prevents business from wrongfully profiteering on essential goods, supplies and services during an emergency. If you are the victim of price gouging due to the coronavirus, or if you have information regarding potential price gouging, you can file a complaint through the Sonoma County’s District Attorney’s office or by calling (707) 565-5317. Read the District Attorney’s statement on price gouging: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/DA/Press-Releases/Ravitch-Warns-Against-Price-Gouging-Coronavirus/.

Yes. Sonoma County has confirmed cases of coronavirus, including community spread. Please go to the “Coronavirus in Sonoma County” page on SoCoEmergency.org to find out the latest number of local cases. https://socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-in-sonoma-county/

The County maintains official emergency information for the public at SoCoEmergency.org and is working with local jurisdictionsto ensure consistent, accurate, information and resources are available messaging for the community. All information is provided available in both English and Spanish, and in numerous other languages using Google Translate.

The county public health lab as well as other private labs are currently running tests to identify cases in the community.

There is currently community transmission of COVID-19 in Sonoma County. DHS continues to consult public health colleagues from the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for assistance. DHS will continue to work with them and other partners to respond to cases, to trace contacts, and to understand what is going on in our community. The County Emergency Operations Center is activated. Colleagues from across county government are helping with the response.

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About Novel Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Many coronaviruses naturally infect animals. Of the seven that can infect humans, four are so common that they infect most people at some point. Coronaviruses are thought to spread through the air by coughing, sneezing and close personal contact, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

The outbreak of this new virus began in December 2019. While the illness started in China, people with the virus have been confirmed in many countries including the United States.

Since this coronavirus is new, health authorities are still learning more about the virus and how it spreads. The situation is quickly changing and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides updated information as it becomes available: www.cdc.gov/ncov

The new COVID-19, which is also known as the new coronavirus, is the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) refers to the virus, while Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) refers to the disease.

While many who have the virus may have very mild symptoms, some experience symptoms that are more severe. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, and aches. The illness can progress to shortness of breath, pneumonia and related complications. Symptoms may also include nausea with vomiting and diarrhea. Those who are more likely to experience more severe symptoms include older individuals and those with underlying health conditions. At this point, children do not seem to be particularly vulnerable to severe illness. As more data are collected on the outbreak, more information will be known as to who is most affected.

There is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus and no specific cure for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. For severe cases, medical care may be needed to relieve symptoms and support vital organ functions until the patient recovers.​​​

An epidemic is an outbreak that has spread over a large geographic area. When the outbreak spreads globally, it becomes a pandemic. A pandemic is more about how widespread the disease is and NOT how severe the disease may be.

You may have heard about the CDC alerting the country to prepare for a possible pandemic. While we need to be concerned about the possibility that the novel coronavirus will spread more widely, this news is more of a call to action than a cause for alarm, and furthermore, is an opportunity to think through what we can do to be prepared. Because we do not know yet how severe the disease may be, it is better to be over prepared than under prepared.

You may see some people buying and wearing face masks, but you should know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not currently recommend that healthy people wear a mask to prevent novel coronavirus. Masks are not foolproof, and there is not strong evidence that wearing one in public will keep you from getting sick. We do not recommend healthy people wear facemasks or respirators to protect from novel coronavirus.​​

Surgical facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of coronavirus to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).

While spread from a person who does not yet have symptoms (pre-symptomatic transmission) to others has been documented, we do not know how often or easily this happens.​​

The World Health Organization says studies have shown that COVID-18 may last for a few hours or several days on surfaces. It all depends on temperature, the kind of surface, and humidity. Using a simple disinfectant on all reachable surfaces is a good idea.

At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

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.

Start good hygiene practices now, and begin preparing your family and home over the coming days and weeks.

  1. Practice good hygiene:
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
    • Keep your hands clean. Wash hands with soap and water or by using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. And, don’t forget to clean your cell phone, if you use one.
    • Stay away from people who are sick.
    • Do not touch your face (nose, eyes, mouth) because viruses can spread to you when you touch your own mouth, nose or eyes. Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what should be done if a pandemic occurs, and what the needs of each person will be.
  1. Plan for how to care for family members if they get sick:
    • Discuss how you are going to care for family members or loved ones if they become ill, including how to protect the ones giving care.
    • Think about a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. If possible, also choose a bathroom that only the sick person would use. Plan to clean these rooms daily. Learn how to care for someone at home.
    • Identify alternative childcare or consider keeping your children at home.
    • If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to stay connected to neighbors, information, and resources. The County is posting regular messages to its website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor.
    • Identify organizations in your community that can help. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counseling services, food, and other supplies.
    • Create an emergency contact list. Ensure that your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, and other community resources.
  1. Stock up on recommended supplies:
    • Keep a 2-week supply of food in the home. You do not need to purchase bottled water. Tap water is safe and coronavirus is not transmitted through the water supply.
    • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home. If you can, have at least a one-month supply of your prescription drugs.
    • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins, and also a thermometer to monitor temperatures of anyone feeling feverish.
    • Ensure a ready supply of cleaning supplies (soap, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers, bleach, rubber gloves, disposable face masks, tissues, toilet paper, and cold medicines.
  1. Practice self-care to reduce stress:
    • It can be as simple as taking time throughout your day to take a deep breath, connect with a friend or loved one, get adequate sleep, have a cup of tea, listen to music. Here are some other ideas for taking care of mental health during a time of uncertainty: Coping with Stress. If you are experiencing extreme anxiety, call your healthcare provider.

We know that everyone is concerned about the novel coronavirus. The best thing we can all do is take action to practice safe hygiene and prevention measures to keep ourselves and our family members safe. If you are at higher risk, additional precautions about being in public spaces are recommended below.

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services has engaged public health colleagues from the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for assistance.  DHS will continue to work with them and other partners to respond to cases, to trace contacts, and to understand what is going on in our community. The County Emergency Operations Center has been activated to plan and respond to this public health situation. Colleagues from across county government are helping with the response.

On March 5, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom declared, “We have ordered health insurance companies to waive ALL out-of-pocket costs for preventive coronavirus testing.” California is the latest state to order insurance companies to waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus testing.

All commercial and Medi-Cal health plans have eliminated out of pocket costs for all medically necessary screening and testing for the COVID-19. This includes waiving cost-sharing for emergency room, urgent care or provider office visits when the purpose of the visit is to be screened and tested for COVID-19.

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.

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Prepare – Home & Family

Start good hygiene practices now, and begin preparing your family and home over the coming days and weeks.

  1. Practice good hygiene:
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
    • Keep your hands clean. Wash hands with soap and water or by using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. And, don’t forget to clean your cell phone, if you use one.
    • Stay away from people who are sick.
    • Do not touch your face (nose, eyes, mouth) because viruses can spread to you when you touch your own mouth, nose or eyes. Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss what should be done if a pandemic occurs, and what the needs of each person will be.
  1. Plan for how to care for family members if they get sick:
    • Discuss how you are going to care for family members or loved ones if they become ill, including how to protect the ones giving care.
    • Think about a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. If possible, also choose a bathroom that only the sick person would use. Plan to clean these rooms daily. Learn how to care for someone at home.
    • Identify alternative childcare or consider keeping your children at home.
    • If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to stay connected to neighbors, information, and resources. The County is posting regular messages to its website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor.
    • Identify organizations in your community that can help. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counseling services, food, and other supplies.
    • Create an emergency contact list. Ensure that your household has a current list of emergency contacts for family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, and other community resources.
  1. Stock up on recommended supplies:
    • Keep a 2-week supply of food in the home. You do not need to purchase bottled water. Tap water is safe and coronavirus is not transmitted through the water supply.
    • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home. If you can, have at least a one-month supply of your prescription drugs.
    • Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins, and also a thermometer to monitor temperatures of anyone feeling feverish.
    • Ensure a ready supply of cleaning supplies (soap, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers, bleach, rubber gloves, disposable face masks, tissues, toilet paper, and cold medicines.
  1. Practice self-care to reduce stress:
    • It can be as simple as taking time throughout your day to take a deep breath, connect with a friend or loved one, get adequate sleep, have a cup of tea, listen to music. Here are some other ideas for taking care of mental health during a time of uncertainty: Coping with Stress. If you are experiencing extreme anxiety, call your healthcare provider.

Yes. Coronavirus, a respiratory illness like the flu or cold, is not spread through tap water. Sonoma Water, our drinking water supplier, uses chlorine to eliminate pathogens, which includes viruses. This ensures safe drinking water for all our customers. There are no impacts from the coronavirus to the City’s public water system. Santa Rosa Water’s staff is highly trained and prepared for emergencies and has contingency plans in place to provide water supply.

To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with the coronavirus. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread the coronavirus. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

According to the CDC, although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with the coronavirus, it is still recommended that people sick with the coronavirus limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick with the coronavirus. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#animals

Yes. Sonoma County Transit cleans and sanitizes its buses each day. Personal protective equipment (e.g., face masks) are available to all drivers. Passengers are encouraged to use CDC personal hygiene guidelines, including through on-board signage. All paratransit buses have hand sanitizer dispensers on board.

People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. People at higher risk include:

  • People 60 and older
  • People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • People who have weakened immune systems
  • People who are pregnant

If someone in your household becomes sick with coronavirus or another respiratory illness, there are several actions you can take to care for them and keep yourself from getting sick.

  • Make sure that you understand and can help the patient follow their healthcare provider’s instructions for medication(s) and care. Help the patient with basic needs in the home and provide support for getting groceries, prescriptions, and other personal needs.
  • Monitor the patient’s symptoms. If the patient is getting sicker, call his or her healthcare provider before you travel to the healthcare provider’s office. This will help staff take steps to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected.
  • When possible, household members should try to stay in another room or be separated from the patient as much as possible.
  • If people do not have an essential need to be in the home, they should not visit while a person is ill.
  • Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. If hands are visibly dirty, using soap and water is preferable.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing household items with the patient. Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items. After the patient uses these items, you should wash them thoroughly.
  • Each day use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions to clean all high-touch surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
  • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
  • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool, or body fluids.
  • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, use a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
  • Place all used disposable gloves and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other trash. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items.
    For the most complete guidance on preventing the spread of coronavirus please visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#f1.​​​

Social distancing is a way to slow the spread of a virus. Social distancing includes personal things you can do, and larger public health actions that can be taken. In addition to general health precautions, members of the public may take these measures to protect themselves and others:

  • Avoid large public venues such as theaters or sporting events.
  • Postponing or changing social gatherings or events.
  • Stay away from people who show symptoms of an illness.
  • If you work closely to others, try to keep a distance of approximately three feet from the nearest person while at work.
  • Avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes to the extent possible. If you need to go, limit your time there and keep six feet away from patients.

It is important to consider the impact of social distancing on one’s emotional state as this could make some people feel more extreme emotions.  Read more about how to take care of yourself and loved ones’ emotional health when social distancing, quarantine, or isolation is necessary.

When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease such as Coronavirus, you may feel anxious and show signs of stress—even when you are at low risk for getting sick. These signs of stress are normal. In the wake of an infectious disease outbreak, monitor your own physical and mental health. Know the signs of stress in yourself and your loved ones. Know how to relieve stress, and know when to get help. There is a National Disaster Distress Helpline

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline

Toll-Free: 1-800-985-5990 (English and español)

SMS: Text TalkWithUs to 66746

SMS (español): “Hablanos” al 66746

TTY: 1-800-846-8517

Website in English: https://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov

Website in Spanish: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/espanol

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) may be able to help if you are experiencing a business slowdown or reducing work hours. Consider the Work Sharing Program as an alternative to layoffs. If you plan a closure or major layoffs, get help through the Rapid Response Program, Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF), or contact your local America’s Job Center of California, the County of Sonoma’s Job Link program. You can read more at: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s unknown if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. It’s always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

While it’s still not known if a woman can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery, no infant has tested positive after being born to a woman who tested positive for the coronavirus. In these cases, which are a small number, the virus wasn’t found in samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk.

Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. The CDC recommends that a mother with virus continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, via coughing or sneezing. Limited studies show that other, similar viruses aren’t transmitted through breast milk.

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding should be determined by the mother in coordination with her family and healthcare providers.

Eating out

Per the current Sonoma County Health Order, issued on March 17, 2020, restaurants are open for delivery, takeout and curbside pick up only. The order was issued as an ongoing effort to mitigate the spread of COVID- 19 in our communities. When picking up your food order, continue safe practices of social distancing of at least 6 feet of another person and washing your hands with soap or using hand sanitizer. 

Fresh produce

The coronavirus can’t live in food, though health experts aren’t sure how long it may last on the surface. As with any fresh fruit and vegetables, wash it thoroughly with water before consuming them. According to Consumer Reports’ testing, there’s no data to suggest you need to wash them with soapy water.When in the grocery store, please practice good hygiene by wiping down your grocery cart handle and using hand sanitizer. Use tongs or available plastic sheets to select breads, pastries or salad bar items. Stay away from people who are sneezing or coughing. Don’t touch any produce that you aren’t going to buy.

The Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) will not consider examinations, treatment, or receiving preventive services related to coronavirus (such as vaccines, if any) as a reason for deportation or to no longer be eligible for legal immigration status.

This will also not impact the condition of public benefits applicable to people asking for an extension of status or change of status, even if treatment is provided or paid for by public office subsidies as defined by the rule as if the service is covered by Medicaid.

In this time of uncertainty, it is very normal to feel anxiety, fear, and a change in our bodily sensations. For survivors of trauma, it can even activate similar responses in our bodies that we felt during the abuse or traumatic event. These feelings will not last forever and you are not alone. Be kind and gracious to yourself.

If you need services at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to the YWCA of Sonoma County 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at (707) 546-1234 or Verity’s 24/7 Rape Crisis Line at (707) 545-7273. For restraining order information, call the Legal Aid Domestic Violence Team during business hours at (707) 595-6295. For restraining orders (Emergency Protective Orders or Temporary Restraining Orders) set to expire between 3/16 and 3/31, these have been extended to remain in effect until 4/7/2020.

Yes. Throughout life, we experience many instances of grief caused by situations, relationships, losses, or canceled plans – and the Covid-19 pandemic can create grief on a number of levels. The five stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is important to know that these stages are not linear and some people may not experience any of them. Others might only undergo one or two stages rather than all five.

For support during this challenging time, people can call the National Disaster Distress Helpline at 1 (800) 985-5990 Or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 Or TTY at 1 (800) 846-8517. Services available in English and Spanish.

On March 24, 2020, the Board of Supervisors took action to approve the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Ordinance, effective immediately and for the duration of the declared Local Emergency in Sonoma County. 

This ordinance creates a legal defense for tenants who live anywhere in Sonoma County and  are being evicted due to non-payment of rent and who can demonstrate financial losses due to lost work or medical expenses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The ordinance requires that tenants who use this defense share that information with their landlord to support claims for any prospective mortgage relief.

The Ordinance will continue for 60 days after the end of the emergency. Rent is not forgiven for tenants with a hardship, but landlords must work with tenants on a rent repayment program that will allow tenants to stay housed during this emergency.

For tenant support and questions about how the eviction ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors may apply to you, contact Legal Aid Sonoma County at (707) 542-1290 or California Rural Legal Assistance at (707) 528-9941.

The Sonoma County Shelter-in-Place order allows you to leave your home to obtain essential or necessary healthcare services at hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, mental health providers, and other healthcare facilities, and also includes veterinary care. Calling ahead to the provider or facility is recommended.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have cold/flu symptoms, contact your medical provider before visiting a care facility. If you are sick, do not go to a healthcare facility without first contacting your medical provider. The reason for this is to avoid potentially exposing others.

For any standing or previously scheduled medical appointments/procedures, call ahead to check with your medical provider. Many healthcare providers are now offering tele-health visits instead of in-person visits, which means you can talk with your doctor or provider by phone or online.

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Prepare – Higher Risk Populations

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Prepare – Business

Businesses should prepare for widespread transmission in our community. Planning should consider replacing in-person meetings with video or telephone conferences; an increased ability for teleworking options; and, modifying absenteeism policies and enhancing surface cleaning.​​​​​​

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) may be able to help if you are experiencing a business slowdown or reducing work hours. Consider the Work Sharing Program as an alternative to layoffs. If you plan a closure or major layoffs, get help through the Rapid Response Program, Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF), or contact your local America’s Job Center of California, the County of Sonoma’s Job Link program. You can read more at: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.

Yes, retrieving or securing business property to prevent a loss is allowed as part of minimum basic operations.

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Prepare – Schools & Districts

Please note that there have been reports of people being stigmatized and discriminated against as a result of novel coronavirus. All of us can do our part to protect our own health and the health of the community by reminding each other that discrimination is unacceptable and counterproductive to protecting the public’s health.

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The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) has created a frequently asked questions page to keep the public informed about the schools. As with other local organizations, SCOE continues to monitor the situation. This page will be updated as needed during this health emergency.


Medical Testing

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If you are sick

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Quarantine & Isolation

Quarantine is used when someone has been exposed to a communicable disease, but they are still well. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of exposed people during the time when they may become ill. It lasts as long as needed to make sure the person does not have the disease.

People under quarantine for the new coronavirus are given legal and specific instructions to stay home and stay away from others. They are regularly contacted by DHS to make sure they are home and to see if they have gotten sick. If needed, additional legal measures can be taken to ensure they stay home and stay away from others.

Isolation is used to separate people who are sick with a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of disease. People may be isolated at their home, or in a hospital, or in another location, as long as it enables the ill person to be separated from those who are well. The period of isolation lasts until the ill person has recovered and is no longer contagious.​

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation. People may feel:

  • Anxiety, worry, or fear related to:
    • ƒYour own health status
    • The health status of others whom you may have exposed to the disease
    • The resentment that your friends and family may feel if they need to go into quarantine as a result of contact with you
    • The experience of monitoring yourself, or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of the disease
    • Time taken off from work and the potential loss of income and job security
    • The challenges of securing things you need, such as groceries and personal care items
  • Concern about being able to effectively care for children or others in your care
  • Uncertainty or frustration about how long you will need to remain in this situation, and uncertainty about the future
  • Loneliness associated with feeling cut off from the world and from loved ones
  • Anger if you think you were exposed to the disease because of others’ negligence
  • Boredom and frustration because you may not be able to work or engage in regular day-to-day activities
  • Uncertainty or ambivalence about the situation
  • A desire to use alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Symptoms of depression, such as feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, or sleeping too little or too much
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as intrusive distressing memories, flashbacks (reliving the event), nightmares, changes in thoughts and mood, and being easily startled

If you or a loved one experience any of these reactions for 2 to 4 weeks or more, contact your health care provider or one of the resources below.

Hotlines

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline

Toll-Free: 1 (800) 985-5990
SMS: Text TalkWithUs to 66746
TTY: 1-800-846-8517
Website: http://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

Toll-Free: 1-800-662-HELP (24/7/365 Treatment Referral Information Service in English and español)
Website: http://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Toll-Free: 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
Website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Treatment Locator

Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
Website: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator/home

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center

Toll-Free: (800) 308-3515
Email: DTAC@samhsa.hhs.gov
Website: http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac

 

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Support & Assistance

When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease such as Coronavirus, you may feel anxious and show signs of stress—even when you are at low risk for getting sick. These signs of stress are normal. In the wake of an infectious disease outbreak, monitor your own physical and mental health. Know the signs of stress in yourself and your loved ones. Know how to relieve stress, and know when to get help. There is a National Disaster Distress Helpline

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline

Toll-Free: 1-800-985-5990 (English and español)

SMS: Text TalkWithUs to 66746

SMS (español): “Hablanos” al 66746

TTY: 1-800-846-8517

Website in English: https://www.disasterdistress.samhsa.gov

Website in Spanish: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline/espanol

In this time of uncertainty, it is very normal to feel anxiety, fear, and a change in our bodily sensations. For survivors of trauma, it can even activate similar responses in our bodies that we felt during the abuse or traumatic event. These feelings will not last forever and you are not alone. Be kind and gracious to yourself.

If you need services at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to the YWCA of Sonoma County 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline at (707) 546-1234 or Verity’s 24/7 Rape Crisis Line at (707) 545-7273. For restraining order information, call the Legal Aid Domestic Violence Team during business hours at (707) 595-6295. For restraining orders (Emergency Protective Orders or Temporary Restraining Orders) set to expire between 3/16 and 3/31, these have been extended to remain in effect until 4/7/2020.

Yes. Throughout life, we experience many instances of grief caused by situations, relationships, losses, or canceled plans – and the Covid-19 pandemic can create grief on a number of levels. The five stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is important to know that these stages are not linear and some people may not experience any of them. Others might only undergo one or two stages rather than all five.

For support during this challenging time, people can call the National Disaster Distress Helpline at 1 (800) 985-5990 Or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 Or TTY at 1 (800) 846-8517. Services available in English and Spanish.

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Travel

The CDC maintains a list of Frequently Asked Questions about travel, including recommendations of countries to avoid non-essential travel, cruise ship travel, returning from travel, etc.

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Healthcare Professionals

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Employers and Employees

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) may be able to help if you are experiencing a business slowdown or reducing work hours. Consider the Work Sharing Program as an alternative to layoffs. If you plan a closure or major layoffs, get help through the Rapid Response Program, Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF), or contact your local America’s Job Center of California, the County of Sonoma’s Job Link program. You can read more at: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) may be able to help if you are sick or quarantined, caring for an ill or quarantined family member or have reduced work hours. Workers who are sick or quarantined can file a Disability Insurance Claim for short term benefits. Caregivers can file a Paid Family Leave Claim for up to six weeks of benefits. If a business shuts down or reduces hours, workers can file a Unemployment Insurance Claim for weekly benefits. Learn more at https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm, https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/ or visit your local EDD office.

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Resources

Yes, on March 3, 2020 Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency to help the state prepare for broader spread of coronavirus. On March 19, the California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health expanded the order to require all individuals living in California to stay at home except for essential needs. The order is in effect until further notice.

This proclamation includes increased protections against price gouging, offers more assistance to local governments, and allows health care workers to come from out-of-state. You can read the proclamation at:

https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/03/04/governor-newsom-declares-state-of-emergency-to-help-state-prepare-for-broader-spread-of-covid-19/

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