What You Should Know About COVID-19

What is COVID-19, and what are the symptoms?

COVID-19 is the name of a new virus, one that has not been previously identified. Because it is so new, methods for treating and preventing the virus are still in development.

Typically, the virus causes mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

What should you do if you think you're sick?

The first thing you should do is isolate yourself from others. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or 2-1-1 first, before seeking medical care at the hospital or doctor’s office, so that appropriate precautions can be taken.

How do I get tested for COVID-19?

We encourage all Tulare County residents who are interested in being tested to first contact their doctor or health plan about how to access testing. Testing locations throughout Tulare County can be found online at: https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-testing-collection-sites/

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, so it is important to know how it spreads. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Every person plays a role in preventing the spread of the virus. Here’s what you should do to protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (this includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks). If surfaces are visibly dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, and wash or sanitize your hands afterward.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Only leave your house to run essential errands (groceries, medication, doctors’ appointments) or going to work.
  • Wear a mask whenever you leave your home. Click here for instructions on how to properly cover your face.
  • Stay home if you start feeling symptoms of COVID-19, and call 2-1-1 or your primary physician.
  • Follow guidance from public health officials.

Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.

For a complete list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:


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