What is the Coronavirus/COVID-19?

The novel coronavirus is a newly discovered virus.  It causes an illness called COVID-19. Many of the symptoms are similar to the flu: dry cough, fever, difficulty breathing.

How do people catch COVID-19?

When people who are infected sneeze, cough, or touch objects with their hands, they leave behind the coronavirus germs.  Other people who breathe the air in the area of the infected person or touch objects they touched are then exposed.

How dangerous is COVID-19?

COVID-19 may cause no symptoms or severe illness.  Many of those infected don’t even know they have it. In addition, COVID-19 is easy to pass to others through close contact.  In some cases it can lead to serious illness such as pneumonia and even death. Patients over 60 and those with chronic medical conditions are most likely to develop severe illness and complications.

Is LACHC prepared?

Yes. We do treat patients with contagious illnesses. We have processes in place to lower the risk of illness for patients and staff. Our medical staff is keeping up to date on recommendations from local public health officials and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Should I keep my medical appointment?

Due to the “shelter at home” order from our city and state, all people are encouraged to stay at home if possible, and limit time out in public.  At this time, we are encouraging all patients with non- urgent or chronic health needs to have a TeleHealth visit with their provider, rather than a face to face visit: a visit by telephone or possibly by video phone call.  Your provider can discuss and treat your health conditions through a TeleHealth visit.  We are limiting in- person visits at our clinics to patients with urgent health needs.  We are screening all patients outside our main clinic entrances for symptoms or signs of COVID-19, and providing testing for patients with symptoms in high risk categories. If you believe you might have or have been exposed to the COVID-19, please call to speak to one of our medical staff before deciding to come in. All of our clinics remain open to serve the community.

Should I wear a face-mask?

Patients who are sick with cold, cough, or other symptoms of illness should wear a face-mask so that their germs are not passed to other people. The CDC now also recommends that all persons wear a cloth facial covering when outside the home or in public. We encourage all patients to wear a cloth facial covering when coming to our clinic sites and when in public settings.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of the novel coronavirus are fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.  Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, body aches, or loss of sense of taste or smell.  If you have these symptoms OR believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, then call your clinic. We can discuss next steps with you, which likely include self- isolation for at least 7 days, but may also include testing.

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

LACHC follows guidelines developed by the CDC, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services guidelines on testing. At this time patients who have symptoms and are in high-risk categories (age>65, chronic heart or lung disease, congregate living or homelessness, health care workers) are recommended for testing.

What is LACHC doing to protect patients?

We are screening all patients for symptoms and risk factors. We are taking extra sanitation precautions at all our clinic sites. For patients being tested or confirmed with novel coronavirus, we follow processes designed to prevent transmission.

What can I do to protect myself and others?

Public health officials recommend the following steps to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including influenza and COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 20 seconds is one round of “The Alphabet Song” or two rounds of “Happy Birthday to You”.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when out in public, washing it frequently and washing your hands carefully before putting it on or removing it.
  • Cough into your elbow or a tissue and not your hands. Dispose of the tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and do not travel or go to work. Isolate as much as possible from family members/ housemates. Please utilize delivery services if possible.
  • Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • As much as possible, stay at home and limit time in public settings.
  • Practice social distancing – keeping 6 ft of distance between you and others at all times –  and avoid large gatherings.