Yuba-Sutter Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu has compiled answers to some common questions regarding COVID-19
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you are feeling these symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care physician, who can assess you by phone. DO NOT go into the ER or your doctor’s office. If your doctor believes you are at risk of having COVID-19, they can authorize a test if they believe it is necessary, or they may simply direct you to recover at home. The vast majority of cases do not require hospitalization.
How serious is the coronavirus?
COVID-19, a respiratory illness, certainly can be serious—especially to vulnerable populations such as those over 60 years old and those with chronic health issues. Yuba-Sutter is taking the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus with the utmost seriousness in its preparedness efforts. With a growing number of confirmed cases in Yuba-Sutter and evidence of community transmission, it is extremely important to heed the state's "stay at home" order to keep ourselves and those around us healthy and safe.
That said, it’s important to balance this without panicking. We all know what to do to keep ourselves healthy and from getting sick and the same applies here: practicing good hygiene by washing our hands often and well; covering our mouths when sneezing or coughing, and not touching our faces.
Is the coronavirus spreading through the Yuba-Sutter area?
We are seeing a growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our region, and we anticipate seeing that number grow significantly in the coming days. The spread of the coronavirus emphasizes how important it is to carefully follow the state's "shelter in place" order and to diligently adhere to strict hygiene routines like avoiding gathering with people who are outside of your immediate household, washing hands and covering sneezes and coughs.
How did those who are infected catch the coronavirus?
They likely contracted COVID-19 in various ways, with "community transmission" through family, gatherings, and friends probably the most common. Dr. Luu says there is abundant evidence of community transmission in the Yuba-Sutter region, which can best be avoided by adhering to the order to stay at home, wash our hands, and maintain social distancing.
Are the patients in the hospital?
Although most reported cases are individuals who are able to recover at home, there are some reports of people being hospitalized because of COVID-19.
What does "community-transmitted" mean?
That is when the Public Health workers investigating the source of a coronavirus case find that the person did not fit the "at risk" criteria, such as having traveled recently or been a close contact of someone with laboratory confirmed COVID-19.
What does it mean to be quarantined? What is expected if I'm asked to quarantine myself?
Voluntary quarantine means keeping yourself at home to keep your family, friends, and community safe. You would separate yourself by staying in a separate room, using a separate bathroom, and not sharing food or utensils for a period of 14 days.
Am I or my family more likely to catch the coronavirus now that it is here?
Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu says following the state's "shelter in place" order is the very best way of guarding you and your family against exposure to the coronavirus. By staying away from crowds, practicing good hand washing, and maintaining at least six feet of distance from others when you are grocery shopping or doing other necessary tasks, you greatly reduce opportunities for the coronavirus to spread.
Is it possible I got the coronavirus from one of the people who tested positive?
Public Health has identified persons who may have had close personal contact with these individuals, including any friends, family members or health care professionals, to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness. Evaluation for if testing is appropriate will be determined by Dr. Luu, Bi-County Health Officer.
If you were not already contacted by Public Health, you are not considered to be at immediate risk of having been exposed.
Why can't you tell us who the sick people are and where they live?
Federal laws are established to protect patient privacy, and those laws are very strict. We are not allowed to give out any information that may provide any indication of a person's identity.
Why aren't you testing every single resident in Yuba-Sutter just to be safe?
Testing has been going on for weeks, but the testing of over 173,000 people is not efficient nor realistic, because there is a very limited number of test kits available at this time here in the Yuba-Sutter area, across California, and nationally. That is why screening of patients is vital in this effort. There have been improvements made to speed up the processing of test, and the advent of rapid testing and will likely allow more individuals to be tested and increase the number of overall tests completed.
I think I may have coronavirus. What should I do?
If you have reasonably mild symptoms, you can care for yourself by staying in your home in a room away from others in your household. Get as much rest as you can, take a fever-reducer and keep yourself well hydrated. For severe symptoms, you should contact your doctor for further guidance. Do NOT go straight to the ER or Urgent Care. Call your physician, or Urgent Care at 749-3242.
What is Public Health's role in all of this?
Yuba and Sutter County staff are in regular communication when it comes to actively monitoring people who are identified as close contact of a suspected COVID-19 case; ensuring that area hospitals and clinics are updated on the latest CDC and CDPH guidelines in regards to COVID-19 evaluation, testing, and infection control; keeping continually abreast of the updated guidances the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health put out; ensuring public health nursing staff and emergency responders know how to keep themselves safe; and of course, communicating with the public. A lot goes on behind-the-scenes in order to maintain a sense of what’s happening, what’s to come, and how best to keep our community safe.
Will I be safer if I wear a facial covering?
Facial coverings protect everyone, as they reduce the chance of water droplets getting into the air and spreading COVID-19 to others. Not everyone who is infected with coronavirus has symptoms, so face coverings are recommended for everyone who goes out in public.
Facial coverings are highly recommended in conjunction with other precautions, such as social distancing, good hand hygiene through hand washing or using alcohol-based sterilizer, and staying home when you are ill.
Is the homeless population especially at risk? Do you have a plan for them?
Everyone-- regardless of his or her housing situation -- should heed the state's "stay at home" order. For the homeless population, that means remaining where you are currently staying.
Bi-County Public Health teams have been in contact with this population and is hosting food distribution once per day at 68 Second Street, Yuba City near the boat dock) from noon-1 p.m.; and at the Life Building Center at 131 F Street in Marysville from 10-11 a.m. There are handwashing stations and restrooms at these sites.
Those in search of housing can connect with County staff at these sites, or by calling 749-6811.
Do household pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States?
Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC announced April 22 that two cats, living in separate households in New York, tested positive for COVID-19. You can read the CDC information release here:
The CDC says there is no reason for widespread testing of pets and there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals, including pets, could be affected.
The Yuba-Sutter Public Health 'stay at home' order was further clarified yesterday for automobile sales, in consultation with Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu. The order states online sales are an essential business activity (and not visits to the car dealerships); however there is an exception under the following conditions:
- Complete as much of the transaction as possible online
- In person portions of the transaction to be by appointment only
- Number of persons involved in the transaction in person limited, 2 from purchasing party and 1 from sales
- Facial coverings to be worn
- Purchasing party to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to touching the vehicle
- Wipe down of touched surfaces on vehicle afterward