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COVID-19 FAQs

If you have not yet had a chance to look at our new Coronavirus website pages, below is a preview of some of what you will find there. We hope to help answer some common questions and will continue to update and add to these FAQs over the coming days to weeks as the situation evolves and recommendations change. 

Staying home all the time is hard, is it really worth the effort?
Emphatically YES! There are numerous articles now describing how aggressive social distancing is our best chance at “flattening the curve” and limiting the overwhelming crush on our health care system. Read more here. This piece shows how adding aggressive social distancing measures can reduce the COVID-19 case load very significantly. Another very compelling piece, including interactive charts, suggests that by using aggressive (versus moderate) social distancing interventions, the peak case load can be reduced from 3.1 million cases to 533,000. This is HUGE.

Should we let our children go to birthday parties or sports events?
No, it is safest to avoid group gatherings (especially if indoors) since we know there is community spread here in the Bay Area. Even though kids may not have severe symptoms, they can get coronavirus and spread it to each other as well as people who are more at risk.

If I’m trying to “Socially Distance,” is it ok to go for a walk in the park or on a bike ride?
Yes, so long as you are physically distant from others. The CDC recommendations are to keep 6 to 10 feet away from other people. Important to note that the virus can also survive on surfaces for 24 hours on cardboard and up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel. Read more here. With that in mind, avoid touching any surfaces in public spaces if you do choose to go out. If you are lucky enough to live near open spaces, going out for a run or ride will be good for your physical and emotional health. However if you cannot go out without mingling with other people, you should STAY HOME.

If I get sick, what do I do?
First off, relax, it is still the normal flu season, and there are plenty of normal cough and colds going around. Manage your symptoms just as you would have last year with warm salt water gargle, ibuprofen, perhaps a decongestant and maybe some sinus rinses, zinc and echinacea. But most importantly, STAY HOME. Self-quarantine as you normally would (or should). Don’t go to work. Unless your symptoms are pretty severe (certainly any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), try not to call your doctor, they are quite busy. Of course, call them for worsening or unusual symptoms. Otherwise, wash your hands, cover your cough and stay away from others. Given our current level of community spread, it is prudent from a public health perspective to assume that anyone with a cough, cold OR fever symptoms has COVID-19. As a result, we recommend that you stay on “self-quarantine” for 72 hours after the last fever, or 10 days after the onset of symptoms, WHICHEVER IS LONGER.

If I get sick, when do I need to see a doctor?
Please see question, “If I get sick, what do I do?” above. Symptoms that your doctor will worry about (and want you to call them for) include any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, any wheezing, any chest pain, or any blood in your sputum. For most, assuming you feel otherwise ok, even a high fever is to be simply treated at home with ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Monitor your urine output for healthy and relatively frequent light yellow urine, if you have a home oxygen saturation monitor (aka pulse oximeter),  you can monitor your oxygen saturation to be sure it is over 92%, and that your heart rate is under 110, otherwise CALL YOUR DOCTOR, who may well recommend a trip to the Emergency Department for evaluation and treatment which may include oxygen, IV fluids, X-Rays, and urgent supportive care.

For more, and constantly updated FAQs and other  information, see our Coronavirus Information web site.