Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There are currently no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in San Luis Obispo County, and risk of infection to local residents remains low at this time. 

Latest news about SLO Public Health response to novel coronavirus

The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department understands that some residents may be concerned about novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, but the health risk to the general public in San Luis Obispo County remains low.

We still consider this a serious public health concern. We are actively working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the state of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), other County officials, local health care providers, and other partners to protect your health.

We will likely have some cases in our county in the future. However, the flu is present in our community now, and is currently a greater cause of illness and mortality. 

County Public Health is ready to protect the community, but we need your help. We are asking residents to take everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, like the flu and coronavirus:  Wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; cover your cough or sneeze; avoid close contact with people who are sick; and stay home when you are sick. 

Provider Notices from SLO Public Health

CDC Information for Providers 

Myth Busters

Is it safe to open packages or letters from China?

People opening packages or letters from China are not at risk of contracting the novel (new) coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that previous analysis shows that coronaviruses do not survive more than a few hours on objects such as packages and letters.

Should I wear a facemask?

You can wear a mask if you feel you need to, but CDC does not recommend the use of facemasks for the general public to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV in the US. There are two kinds of facemasks: surgical masks and N95 respirators. A surgical mask can help decrease the spread of germs when the wearer is infectious and coughing or sneezing. The effectiveness of surgical masks worn by healthy people is not well known. Surgical masks are loose fitting and do not prevent a person from inhaling smaller airborne particles. Health care providers wear specially fitted N95 respirators when around infectious airborne germs. An N95 respirator is very effective in filtering out small airborne germs only when worn appropriately by persons who are trained and specially fit tested for the mask.

Can drinking Corona beer give me the novel coronavirus?

Corona beer has nothing to do with this virus. Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface because "corona" means crown in latin. Also, the word "novel" means new when referring to the novel coronavirus.

Can pets spread novel coronavirus?

While dogs and cats can get coronavirus infections, those viruses cannot be transmitted to humans. At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets.

Should I avoid Chinese people, just to be safe?

Do not avoid Chinese people or those who appear to be of Chinese descent. Do not assume that someone of Chinese descent is more likely to have the novel coronavirus. Viruses like the novel coronavirus are equal opportunity germs, infecting anyone who isn’t immune and happens to be close enough. 

Is it true that herbs, bleach, or oils can treat novel coronavirus?

There is no indication that herbs, garlic, oils, or especially bleach help treat this novel coronavirus. A cleaning solution with bleach is useful in killing coronavirus germs on surfaces; however, ingesting or applying bleach to your body can be very harmful. As of February 5, 2020, the CDC reports that there are no effective antiviral medications for treating this novel coronavirus. Infected people should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Since I got my flu shot this year, am I protected from the novel coronavirus?

The flu shot will not protect you from becoming infected with the novel coronavirus. See CDC guidance on preventative actions from spreading respiratory viruses.

Is it just old people getting sick from novel coronavirus?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

What if I have more questions?

If you could not find the answers to your questions here, you have several other resources:

 

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