COVID-19: Novel Coronavirus Disease

Important Notice: All individuals living in the State of California have been ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except for essential needs, by the California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health.

Details are available at California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

  • This website also provides information and resources for:
    • Financial help
      • Applying for unemployment, worker's compensation, disability benefits, and paid family leave
      • Eviction moratorium
      • Financial institution relief
    • Symptoms and risks
    • Getting tested and treatment
    • Prevention tips
    • Small business help

Local County Health Officer Orders

In addition to the statewide order, local departments of public health also issue health officer orders that must be followed. It's possible you may live in a county that has additional or stricter requirements.

Los Angeles County Residents

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued the following health officer orders:

Residents of Other Counties

Residents of other counties will find applicable health officer orders through their local department of public health:

Important Resources

This webpage provides basic information about COVID-19, the novel coronavirus disease. Because new information and guidelines are released on a frequent basis, please visit the following websites for the latest details and guidance.

  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: Learn More About Coronavirus
    • "What You Should Know" fact sheets, Safer at Home FAQs, isolation and quarantine instructions, and other resources are available in multiple languages, including in Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese (traditional and simplified), English, Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

For information specific to Cal State LA, please visit Cal State LA Health Watch.

How Does the COVID-19 Virus Spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for more than 10 minutes.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes droplets from their respiratory tract enter the air. These virus-filled droplets can enter the mouths or noses of individuals close by or land on nearby objects.

The COVID-19 virus can be spread by:

  • Speaking, coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact — being within six feet of another person and contact such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
  • Rarely, fecal contamination

Infected individuals are most infectious when they have symptoms. However, the COVID-19 virus is also spread by infected individuals who do not have symptoms. The virus can be spread to others by infected individuals 48 hours before symptoms develop. The incubation period for COVID-19 (the time period between getting infected and when symptoms develop) is believed to be 2-14 days.

Community spread (spread that includes infections among people whose infection sources are unknown) is occurring in the U.S. 

For additional details, read the CDC's How COVID-19 Spreads.

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?


COVID-19 infection has been confirmed in people who have had no symptoms to mild symptoms to severe illness.

  • Classic symptoms:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus may also experience these symptoms:
    • Chills
    • Body aches
    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Runny nose

Symptoms are believed to develop 2-14 days after becoming infected with the virus.

For additional details or to use the Coronavirus Self-Checker, visit the CDC's Symptoms of Coronavirus.

What to Do if You Develop Symptoms

If you develop symptoms, follow these guidelines from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health

What are the Warning Signs of Serious COVID-19 Illness?

Call 911 in an emergency.

Warning signs of serious illness that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Other severe or concerning symptoms

For additional details, read the CDC's COVID-19 Symptoms.

What Should I Do if I Develop COVID-19 or Respiratory Symptoms?

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) Guidelines

The LACDPH has issued the following instructions for individuals who have COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms and their families and caregivers:

General Recommendations

  • Seek medical care.
    • Before you go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms.
    • The elderly and individuals who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions should call their doctor earlier.
    • Call 211 to find support near you if you do not have a healthcare provider.
  • Avoid contact with others. Use a separate room and bathroom.
  • Avoid sharing household items.
  • Clean "high-touch" surfaces and objects — frequently touched surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, counter tops.
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue away. Wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
    • Handwashing is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • Read Steps for Handwashing (Los Angeles County Department of Public Health) for details.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear a facemask.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with pets and other animals.
  • Stay in contact with others via phone or email.

For additional information, read:

What Should I Do if I've been Exposed?

The LACDPH has issued the following guidance materials for those who have been exposed to COVID-19:

What Can I Do to Protect Myself and Others?

Social distancing is the best way to protect yourself and others. Stay home except to access or perform essential services.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Guidelines

  • Guidance for Social Distancing
    • Note: Individuals who have been exposed or who are sick should follow applicable isolation and quarantine guidelines.

General Recommendations

  • Stay informed.
  • Individuals aged 65 and older and others at higher risk should stay home.
  • Implement social distancing.
    • Follow local public health officer orders
    • Avoid public places and gatherings
    • Don't eat or drink in bars or restaurants - choose delivery, take-out or a drive-thru option
    • Maintain social distancing of of at least six feet per person
    • Work from home, if possible - follow CDC and local public health guidelines if you have to go to work
    • Don't visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities
    • Cancel or postpone in-person events and gatherings
    • Use verbal salutations in place of handshakes and hugs
    • Avoid sharing utensils, cups, linens, and other items
    • Have ample supplies of essentials, such as water, food, hygiene products, medications, and pet food on hand
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Take everyday precautions used to prevent the flu and other respiratory diseases.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Handwashing is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
      • Read Steps for Handwashing (Los Angeles County Department of Public Health) for details.
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Seek medical care if you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel (if applicable) and your symptoms.

Face Coverings

The CDC "recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission... It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus."

For details on face coverings, read:

For tips on how to make a face covering, view this video:

How to Make Your own Face Covering

For additional information, read:

Recommendations for Individuals at High Risk for Becoming Seriously Ill

Certain individuals are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the COVID-19 virus:

  • Older adults
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems (e.g., persons infected with HIV, individuals who have undergone cancer treatment)
  • Pregnant individuals

Individuals who are or may be at higher risk should take additional precautions:

  • Stay home to limit exposure risk.
  • Consult your healthcare provider.
    • Request an extra supply of your medications
    • Make a plan for what to do if you get sick
  • Contact you healthcare provider as soon as possible if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces and objects in public places. Cover your hand or finger with tissue or your sleeve if need to touch an elevator button, handrail or other surfaces and objects.
  • Avoid crowds. Exposure risk may increase in crowded areas with poor ventilation.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, including cruises.

For additional information, read:

Information for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Individuals

Pregnancy may lead to higher risk of infection and serious illness. The risk of infection to a fetus (before, during or after birth) is not known. No information is currently available regarding the transmission of the COVID-19 virus through breast milk.

Refer to the following resources for information and guidance:

Information on Children and COVID-19

According to the CDC, there is no evidence children are at higher risk. However, certain children, such as those with underlying health conditions, may be at increased risk for severe infection.

For additional information, read:

Information for Those Who Live With or Care for A Person with Confirmed COVID-19 or Who is Under Investigation
Additional Resources:

How Do I Manage My Stress?

This is a very challenging time. The following resources offer suggestions for managing stress:

Additional resources are available at:

What Should I Do if I Plan to Travel or am Traveling?

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory - Do Not Travel. All international travel should be avoided. Those currently abroad should consider returning to their country of residence.

Visit the following resources for the latest information and recommendations:

What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a variety of animal species. Bats, birds, camels, cats, and other animals are hosts to coronaviruses. They are also common causes of infection in people.

In humans, coronaviruses can cause mild to severe illness. For example, coronaviruses are one of the virus types that cause the common cold. A cold is generally a mild infection. In contrast, with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus causes severe illness and is responsible for thousands of deaths.

For additional details, read the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Novel Coronavirus (NCoV-2019) FAQ.

What is a Novel Coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a newly identified virus that infects and causes illness in animals or people. The problem with any novel virus is the potential to spread through populations with little to no immunity to the virus.

Examples of other novel coronavirus outbreaks include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV).

For additional details, read the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Novel Coronavirus (NCoV-2019) FAQ.