What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus that causes COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and usually cause mild illness, like the common cold.
What is happening?
There has been an outbreak of a new illness called novel coronavirus, now named COVID-19. While the illness started in China, the situation is quickly changing. There have been cases of COVID-19 in many countries, including in the U.S. related to travel and person-to-person spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates U.S. case counts regularly on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. See the current U.S. case count of COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets (e.g., uncovered coughs). That is why the CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. To note, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-9 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How can I help prevent COVID-19 from spreading?
Santa Cruz County Public Health strongly urges community members to take precautions to help prevent the spread of illness:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water, rubbing for at least 20 seconds;
- Use at least 60% alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand, or use a tissue and discard;
- Avoid shaking hands;
- Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands;
- Regularly clean surfaces touched by many people using normal household cleaners;
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick; and has similar symptoms to COVID-19.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included: fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Some people may have pneumonia or more serious illness.
How can I prepare for possible disruption caused by an outbreak?
- Make sure your emergency preparedness kit is up to date. Stock additional supplies if possible. Visit Ready.gov for an Emergency Supply List and other preparedness materials
- Obtain two to three months’ supply of your critical prescriptions. Stock up on essential medication for all family members.
- Prepare to work from home if possible.
- Prepare a childcare plan if you or a caregiver are sick.
- Make arrangements to manage a school dismissal of at least two weeks.
- Plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
- Take care of each other and check in by phone with friends, family and neighbors that are vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19.
- Keep common spaces clean to help maintain a healthy environment for you and others. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.
Where can I get the latest information for the status of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County?
The County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency provides the most up-to-date and relevant information for the status of the COVID-19 outbreak in Santa Cruz County. Please review their resources frequently to understand the current situations and the most updated recommendations for prevention of COVID-19. As the status of the outbreak in Santa Cruz County changes day-to-day, the recommendations for protection yourself and your family can also change. It is important to stay up-to-date with the most recent recommendations.
Call 211 or text "COVID19" to 211211.
- Santa Cruz County Office of Education Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
- California Department of Public Health COVID-19 Updates
- California Resilience Agency COVID-19 Quick Links
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Dashboard
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Homes and Residential Communities
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Travel Notices
- Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)