COVID-19

COVID-19 risk remains. Continue to protect yourself and others.

Reduce Your Risk of COVID-19

Get vaccinated, if able. Frequently wash/sanitize hands. Avoid crowds. Gather outdoors. Physical distance. Stay home when sick. Wear masks as recommended and required.  

 


COVID-19 Vaccination

Basic Facts

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most important COVID-19 prevention step that can be taken. Vaccination helps protect vaccinated individuals, loved ones and the community.

Who Can Be Vaccinated?

Individuals ages 12 and older are eligible for vaccination.

Resources on the Vaccines

Resources for Vaccinated Individuals

Resources for Individuals Who are Not Vaccinated

Current Public Health Orders and Guidance

Some COVID-19 related restrictions remain in place (e.g., masks are required when using public transportation and in high-risk settings). Details on current orders and guidance can be found at:


About This Webpage

This webpage provides general information about COVID-19. Because public health orders and guidance change, please visit the following resources for the latest updates:

Helpful Resources

Cal State LA

COVID-19 Prevention

COVID-19 Exposure, Infection and Symptoms

COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Additional Los Angeles County Resources

State of California Resources 

  • COVID-19.ca.gov
    • Includes information and resources on financial assistance, food and meal assistance, getting tested, obtaining health care, and COVID-19 risk reduction.

Other Resources


COVID-19 Testing

Test Sites

Free COVID-19 testing is available in Los Angeles and other counties. For details and to locate a test site, click on one of the following links:

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

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) Guidelines

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

General Considerations

  • 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.
    • Call 211 to find support near you if you do not have a healthcare provider.
  • Avoid contact with others. This includes separating yourself from other people in your home.
  • Don't go to school, work or out in the public.
  • Use a separate room and bathroom, if possible.
  • Don't cook or prepare meals for others.
  • Avoid sharing household items.
  • Clean "high-touch" surfaces and objects, including frequently touched surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, counter tops.
  • 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.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear a facemask or cloth face covering.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with pets and other animals.
  • Stay in contact with others via phone, email or other means.

What Should I Do if I May Have Been Exposed?

In general, anyone who has been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 should:

  • Quarantine for 10 days
  • Monitor your health for 14 days
  • Follow the Los Angeles County Health Officer Quarantine Order

The specifics of what to do depends on your COVID-19 vaccination status. For details, refer to:


Celebrate and Gather Safely

Considerations and Guidance to Keep in Mind

Informal social gathering guidance varies based on the gathering setting (e.g., indoors or outdoors), vaccination status of those attending the gathering or who live at the gathering location and other factors. Keep these considerations in mind if you are planning to host or attend an informal social gathering.

  • Are you experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?
    • Anyone with COVID-19 related symptoms must stay home and avoid others by following applicable protocols for quarantine or isolation.
  • Is everyone vaccinated?
    • Unvaccinated individuals remain at high risk of contracting COVID-19, including young children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and individuals who are unable to be vaccinated. Physical distancing, limiting shared items, frequent hand washing/sanitizing, outdoor seating and eating, and other precautions are important, especially when individuals who are not fully vaccinated are present.
  • Is anyone at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease?
    • Older adults, pregnant and recently pregnant individuals and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease and should avoid gatherings if not fully vaccinated. If attending a gathering, precautions should be taken, including physical distancing, wearing face coverings, getting as much fresh air as possible, and limiting the amount of time spent at the gathering.
  • Where will the gathering take place?
    • Outdoor gatherings are safest. Indoor gatherings have higher risk and are discouraged.
  • Can fresh air circulation be increased?
    • If a gathering is to take place indoors, increasing fresh air circulation by opening doors and windows, where possible, can help reduce risk. 
  • ​How many people will attend?
    • ​Current guidance places limits on the number of individuals who can attend a gathering, including outdoor gatherings.
  • Will there be opportunities for frequent hand washing or sanitizing?
    • Frequent handwashing and sanitizing if soap and water aren't available helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Everyone in attendance should clean or sanitize their hands often.
  • Will items be shared?
    • ​Sharing items can increase risk. Minimize or prevent sharing utensils, cups, food, and drink.
  • ​How long is the gathering?
    • ​The longer the gathering, the higher the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • ​What if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 after the gathering?
    • ​Anyone present at a gathering who is diagnosed with COVID-19 within two days of attending the gathering must notify the gathering host/organizer. If you are sick and have not been contacted by the LA County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) within a week of the positive test result, you must also notify LACDPH.

Protect Yourself and Others

Consider the risk. Risk varies based on vaccination status, presence of certain health conditions, the number of local COVID-19 cases, and other factors.

  • Follow state and local guidance and business policies

  • Get vaccinated, if able to do so

  • Avoid confined spaces and crowds

  • Avoid sharing food, toys and other items

  • Be aware of COVID-19 scams and fraud

  • Choose contactless options where available for reservations, checkin, payment, and item deliveries
  • Frequently wash or sanitize hands

  • Limit indoor activities and avoid confined spaces

  • Physical distance and avoid close contact with others

  • Stay home if you have respiratory or other symptoms of COVID-19 or when exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19

  • Wear masks or cloth face coverings

  • Stay informed (visit COVID-19 Info: Staying Safe in Los Angeles County and COVID-19.ca.gov)

Travel Safely

Travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. As such, individuals who are not fully vaccinated should avoid non-essential out-of-state and international travel (Travel Advisory (ca.gov) | Travel Advisory and Guidance - LACDPH).

Individuals who are fully vaccinated should take all necessary precautions to reduce COVID-19 risk before, during and after travel, including following local home and destination public health orders and guidance.

CDC Travel Resources

U.S. Department of State Resources

Managing Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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

Additional resources are available at:


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get COVID-19?

Anyone exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 can become infected, so it is important to follow local and state public health orders and guidance to reduce risk. Certain individuals are at high risk for becoming seriously ill, which increases risk for hospitalization, being placed on a ventilator, and dying.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at decreased risk for getting COVID-19 and experiencing severe COVID-19.

I'm Not Vaccinated. How Can I Protect Myself?

Consider getting vaccinated, if able to do so. Review the tips in the "Protect Yourself and Others" section. Also read the Covid- Harm Reduction Infographic (lacounty.gov).

Do I Need to Get Vaccinated if I Have had COVID-19?

Individuals who have had COVID-19 should get vaccinated. This recommendation is made, in part, because it is unknown how long protection against COVID-19 lasts after being infected. Vaccination timing is based on when your isolation period is over and what type of treatment you received for your COVID-19 infection.

I'm Pregnant/Breastfeeding. Can I Get Vaccinated?

Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals can be vaccinated; however, it is a personal decision. Discuss vaccination with your healthcare provider.

For additional information, visit:

How Does the COVID-19 Virus Spread?

Viral Spread

The virus that causes COVID-19 primarily spreads through close contact with an infected person, but can also spread through aerosols that linger in the air.

When an infected person breathes, speaks, sings, coughs, or sneezes, droplets or aerosols from their respiratory tract enter the air. Viruses can then enter the mouths or noses of other individuals, or land on nearby objects. The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread by:

  • Breathing, speaking, singing, coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact (e.g., 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

Close Contacts

A "close contact" is any of the following people who were exposed to a person with COVID-19*:

  • An individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
  • An individual who had unprotected contact with the infected person's body fluids and/or secretions, for example, being coughed or sneezed on, sharing utensils or saliva, or providing care without wearing appropriate protective equipment.

*A person with COVID-19, is considered to be infectious from 2 days before their symptoms first appeared until they are no longer required to be isolated (as described in Home Isolation Instructions for People with COVID-19). A person with a positive COVID-19 test but no symptoms is considered to be infectious from 2 days before their test was taken until 10 days after their test.

Individuals who have had close contact with someone diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 are required to follow local public health orders for quarantine. Please read Home Quarantine Instructions for Close Contacts to COVID-19 for additional important details on close contacts. 

Additional Details

The incubation period for COVID-19 (the time period between getting infected and when symptoms develop) is 2-14 days. 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 (a reason for continuing to take precautions). For those who develop symptoms, the virus can be spread to others 48 hours before their symptoms appear.

What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

Many individuals do not develop symptoms. In those who do develop symptoms, symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after becoming infected.

Individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus may experience these symptoms:

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Loss of smell and taste (new)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Other symptoms

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, you and any close contacts are required to follow local public health guidance:

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

Call 911 in an emergency. Inform the dispatcher that you have/may have COVID-19.

According to the CDC, warning signs of serious illness that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips or nail-beds, depending on skin tone
  • Other severe or concerning symptoms

For additional details, read the CDC's Symptoms of Coronavirus.

What is the Difference Between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

The flu and COVID-19 share certain features (e.g.,both are contagious viral infections that cause respiratory and other symptoms), but also have differences (e.g., COVID-19 is associated with the loss of taste and smell, trouble breathing, and more severe illness).

For these and additional details on flu and COVID-19 differences and similarities, visit the CDC's Similarities and Differences Between Flu and COVID-19.

If you develop respiratory, COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms:

  • Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Can Someone Have COVID-19 and the Flu at the Same Time?

Yes, it's possible to be infected with both viruses (and other infections) at the same time.

What About Children and What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome?

Most children who become infected with COVID-19 either have mild or no symptoms. However, some children develop severe illness.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

MIS-C has been diagnosed in some previously healthy children who are or have been infected with COVID-19. The condition causes potentially life-threatening swelling (inflammation) in the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, stomach and other organs. A child's healthcare provider should be contacted as soon as possible if they develop any of the following symptoms.

Symptoms

MIS-C symptoms include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feeling extra tired
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Vomiting

Emergency Warning Signs: Seek Emergency Care

Immediate emergency care should be sought for children who exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Bluish lips or face
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • New confusion
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn't go away
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Other concerning symptoms

Protect Children

The best protection against MIS-C is to help children avoid COVID-19 infection, including vaccination. Individuals 12 years of age and older are currently eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

For additional information, read:

Who is at High Risk for Becoming Seriously Ill?

According to the CDC, certain individuals are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the COVID-19 virus:

  • People with certain medical conditions
    • Substance use disorders
    • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
    • Solid organ or stem cell transplant
    • Smoking (current or former)
    • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
    • Overweight and obesity
    • Liver disease
    • Immunocompromised state
    • HIV infection
    • Heart conditions
    • Down syndrome
    • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
    • Dementia and other neurologic conditions
    • Chronic lung diseases (e.g., asthma, COPD)
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Cancer

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

  • Consult your healthcare provider.
  • Stay home as much as possible and only leave home for necessities. Limit your contact with others.
  • Contact you healthcare provider as soon as possible if you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Ensure caregivers are following public health guidelines to reduce risk.
  • Pay attention to local public health advisories and health officer orders.

Other populations who may need to take extra precautions:

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 more millions of deaths.

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).

Sources: