Q: Why did Sacramento County move to mitigation of COVID-19?
A: Public health officials have recommended to move Sacramento County onto mitigation of the virus. The distinction is important because it shifts the focus from “contact-tracing” – the process of identifying every person a known COVID-19 infected person has had contact with since they contracted the virus, to trying to protect the most vulnerable populations from contracting the virus. We will continue to follow CDC/CDPH mitigation guidelines for contact tracing. These new measures will include ending 14-day quarantines simply based on contact exposure and applies to the general public, as well as health care workers and first responders. This decision will free up public health resources to protect the most vulnerable populations.
Q: What is the current guidance for self-quarantine?
A: Quarantine strategy now hinges on whether a person is showing symptoms or not.
- If a person does not have symptoms, they do not need to quarantine.
- If a person is showing mild symptoms – fever and cough, they are advised to stay at home from work or school until resolution of symptoms, a minimum of seven days from the start of symptoms.
- Those that are high risk with symptoms should contact their doctor
- Those severely ill should go to the hospital
Q: What populations are considered ‘high-risk’?
A: High-risk populations are more likely to experience complications or even death from COVID-19. Including:
- Those 65 years of age or older
- Anyone with chronic health conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart or lung disease
- Weakened immune systems
Q: I want to get tested for COVID-19, where do I go?
A: County Public Health still has 20 test kits to use per day – reserved for hospitalized patients and health care workers with known exposure. Private laboratories should be opening for testing within the week – patients need a doctor referral to get tested. However, there is minimum value in testing people who have no symptoms, since treatment is only based on symptoms.
Q: What are some tips to avoid the virus?
A: The CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to areas where COVID-19 infection is widespread. It is important people get the flu shot, not because the vaccine protects against COVID-19 but because the desire is to reserve supplies and resources for COVID-19 patients instead of those being used for preventable diseases. Precautions to take when avoiding or fighting the flu are no different from what people should be doing every day to avoid the coronavirus and other respiratory diseases:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze
- If a person is showing symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath, they are advised to stay at home from work or school until resolution of symptoms, a minimum of seven days from the start of symptoms.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as doorknobs and light switches.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Q: Should I wear a mask?
A: Common surgical masks block the droplets coming out of a sick person from getting into the air, but they are not tight enough to prevent what’s already in the air from getting in. If you’re not sick, you don’t need to wear a mask. N95 masks are not only pricy, they are difficult to use without training and must be fitted and tested to work properly. Exam gloves can be helpful, but you must use them correctly because they can get contaminated just like your hands. It is important that anyone wearing a mask be treated with respect and not fear.
Q: If I am considered someone in a “high-risk population” should I avoid large public gatherings?
A: Yes. Anyone who is 70 years or older, and/or anyone who has an underlying chronic medical condition or compromised immune system (see explanation above), should avoid large public gatherings such as conferences and social meetings, as well as entertainment and sporting events, for example concerts and basketball games.
Q: Need more information?
A: For the latest information and resources for schools, employers, health care provers and laboratories from Sacramento County Public Health, visit: http://covid19.saccounty.net or call 2-1-1