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 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus is thought to spread mainly:
- When people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
- Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks
- Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs
- On surfaces that are later touched by individuals.
- Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may also spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Every person plays a role in preventing the spread of the virus.
Here’s what you should do:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- 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 after.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Only leave your house to run essential errands (groceries, medication, doctors’ appointments)
- Wear a mask when leaving 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.
Here’s what you should NOT do:
No gathering with groups outside of your household. A “gathering” is any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.
A household consists of one or more persons - who may or may not be related - living in the same apartment, condominium, or home.
What should you do if you think you're sick?
Call ahead: 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 Tulare County 2-1-1 (Dial 211) first, before seeking medical care at the hospital or doctor’s office, so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are very similar to the flu, including:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
How is it decided whether a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 can self-isolate at home or must be confined to a hospital or elsewhere?
Tulare County Public Health works in partnership with the California Department of Public Health and the CDC to make determinations on whether a person ill with COVID-19 should be hospitalized, or if home isolation is appropriate. That decision may be based on multiple factors, including severity of illness, need for testing, and appropriateness of home for isolation purposes.