News

Menlo Park: Customers buying heavily at local grocery stores amid coronvirus concerns

Many customers searching for a bag of rice, a can of beans, or a roll of toilet paper in Menlo Park grocery stores over the weekend discovered empty shelves.

The reason? Shoppers have been stocking up on staple foods and supplies amid concerns about the spreading coronavirus.

According to the New York Times, experts have suggested that people keep a 30-day supply of household essentials in order to prepare for an outbreak of the virus, sparking many to quickly buy up those items at local stores.

In San Mateo County there are now two reported cases of coronavirus, and there have been almost 90,000 worldwide.

Managers at both Safeways in town – on El Camino Real and at the Sharon Heights Shopping Center – as well as at the Trader Joe’s on Menlo Avenue and the Draeger's Market on University Drive, confirmed that they have been running out of staple items like water, rice, pasta, and toilet paper, as well as health-related items like hand sanitizer and cold medicine.

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Menlo Park resident Andrea Gemmet said she was surprised to find dry goods shelves at Safeway empty over the weekend. "The store's pasta aisle was completely cleaned out, as was all its rice on the next aisle," she said.

"Our checker said it's been like that for the past three days, not because of a supply shortage but because people are stockpiling," she said. "It was the same at Trader Joe's. The pasta, rice and beans were wiped out. They'd just gotten a big shipment but shoppers bought it all up."

Symptoms of coronavirus are like the cold or flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure, according to San Mateo County Health, the county's health department.

Dr. Scott Morrow, the chief San Mateo County health officer, said in a press release that the department shares "the concerns of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that we all need to be prepared for COVID-19 to spread within the United States."

He also gave advice on how people should prepare for the virus. "To prevent any illness, follow CDC guidelines including washing your hands frequently, covering your sneeze, and staying home when sick. Also, please dust off your personal emergency plans to make sure you have proper provisions at your home including water, medications, and food."

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Menlo Park: Customers buying heavily at local grocery stores amid coronvirus concerns

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Tue, Mar 3, 2020, 11:22 am

Many customers searching for a bag of rice, a can of beans, or a roll of toilet paper in Menlo Park grocery stores over the weekend discovered empty shelves.

The reason? Shoppers have been stocking up on staple foods and supplies amid concerns about the spreading coronavirus.

According to the New York Times, experts have suggested that people keep a 30-day supply of household essentials in order to prepare for an outbreak of the virus, sparking many to quickly buy up those items at local stores.

In San Mateo County there are now two reported cases of coronavirus, and there have been almost 90,000 worldwide.

Managers at both Safeways in town – on El Camino Real and at the Sharon Heights Shopping Center – as well as at the Trader Joe’s on Menlo Avenue and the Draeger's Market on University Drive, confirmed that they have been running out of staple items like water, rice, pasta, and toilet paper, as well as health-related items like hand sanitizer and cold medicine.

Menlo Park resident Andrea Gemmet said she was surprised to find dry goods shelves at Safeway empty over the weekend. "The store's pasta aisle was completely cleaned out, as was all its rice on the next aisle," she said.

"Our checker said it's been like that for the past three days, not because of a supply shortage but because people are stockpiling," she said. "It was the same at Trader Joe's. The pasta, rice and beans were wiped out. They'd just gotten a big shipment but shoppers bought it all up."

Symptoms of coronavirus are like the cold or flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure, according to San Mateo County Health, the county's health department.

Dr. Scott Morrow, the chief San Mateo County health officer, said in a press release that the department shares "the concerns of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that we all need to be prepared for COVID-19 to spread within the United States."

He also gave advice on how people should prepare for the virus. "To prevent any illness, follow CDC guidelines including washing your hands frequently, covering your sneeze, and staying home when sick. Also, please dust off your personal emergency plans to make sure you have proper provisions at your home including water, medications, and food."

Comments

Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:35 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:35 am
14 people like this

Is it really "Panic Buying" if people are doing what the experts and the CDC recommended? I have not see the type of panic that happens in other places with people grabbing anything that is on the shelf and getting into fights with other shoppers. So far this just seems like people stocking up on essentials. If they don't need them for the virus then they have a good start on a earthquake kits which we all should have.


Renee Batti
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:46 am
Renee Batti, Menlo Park: other
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:46 am
14 people like this

Good point, Brian. The headline has been changed. Thanks for your comment.


Jay
Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:53 am
Jay, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 3, 2020 at 11:53 am
8 people like this

Brian is right. Any one of us may need to self-quarantine, thus it makes sense to stock up on a 14 day supply now so that we don't have to rely entirely on food delivery services! Furthermore, a lot of people in the Bay don't keep very much food on hand because they to eat out a lot. Perhaps some of those people decided to finally stock their pantries.


MaryH
another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm
MaryH, another community
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm
22 people like this

Ridiculous...total over reaction...if you have to self quarantine, others can go out and buy goods for you...This is panic buying/hoarding at its worst....probably the same people who clear the shelves went they think their favorite beverage will be discontinued.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:52 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 3, 2020 at 12:52 pm
20 people like this

Individuals and families who have planned ahead should have everything they need in their current disaster/earthquake kit.

When an epidemic occurs it is too late to get the things that you should already have.


Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 3, 2020 at 8:12 pm
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 3, 2020 at 8:12 pm
10 people like this

MaryH,

I am curious, what others do you suggest go shopping for you? Other people you might have already exposed to the virus or people you will expose to the virus? If you are counting on food delivery services you might be exposing them if you talk to them or even if you leave a tip. Why is being prepared an over reaction?

Many people don't have earthquake kits, so this is a good wake up to stock up on things you will need. What you want to have for a self quaranintine is the same you would want for after a major earthquake. Even people wo do have earthquake kits are taking this situation as a good opportunity to refresh some of the items in the kit or to augment the kit. All in all a positive thing.


Patty
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:14 am
Patty, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:14 am
9 people like this

Earthquake readiness is one thing. Not finding enough to goods for your weekly trip to the market is another! This hurts people like my household (and many others) who live paycheck to paycheck and would not be able to afford a month’s supplies. There should be rations so everyone has a chance to buy.


Brian
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 4, 2020 at 9:17 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 4, 2020 at 9:17 am
7 people like this

Patty,

The stores are getting restocked every day. Go in the morning to Costco when it opens and you should find the shelves full. Safeway restocks at night so going early should result in the same, full shelves.

Rationing is not necessary and personally I have not seen people loading up on 50 packs of toilet paper or things like that. Maybe it is happening but I have not seen it. What I saw at Costco last weekend was people buying food and other goods in limited quantity but enough to have a supply if they could not go out. I saw carts with 2 packs of toilet paper, a pack of paper towels and people buying canned foods, rice, pasta and ramen. I did find it a little funny that people were stocking up on water. I really don't think the virus is going to take down the water supply to our houses.


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:59 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:59 am
10 people like this

Brian:

people are being stupid about this. They are making huge purchases. One of the Safeway checkers was telling me about a customer that made a $2000 purchase. Yes, $2000. Way beyond what anyone would need even in an earthquake. By the way, I was in Safeway yesterday afternoon and the bottled water was wiped out. Last time I checked covid 19 wasn't going to stop the water flowing out of the faucets. So why the need to stock up on bottled water? People are in panic mode. It's ridiculous.


Joyce
Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm
Joyce, Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 4, 2020 at 1:53 pm
6 people like this

I was one of the people who does a regular weekly grocery trip, however when I went on Monday to WF Palo Alto, the shelves were pretty empty. I got veggies and fruit and then went to Safeway for other things and it was the same situation there. It's definitely hard to not feel the anxiety and see the same look on others faces, then start buying things that have been recommended for an emergency preparedness kit. It just helps feel like there is safety net and that can lead to less of an overall panic amongst people. Imo


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 4, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 4, 2020 at 2:13 pm
11 people like this

"Lessons from combating covid-19 in China"

1 - The US utterly failed to do timely testing and now containment is no longer a workable strategy.
2 - The US cannot impose the kinds of travel and quarantine restrictions that China employed.
3 - The US has much LESS medical response capability than does China. For example many seriously ill in China were saved by using extracorporeal oxygenation - there is very little extracorporeal oxygenation capability in the US.
4 - US leadership has low credibility
5 - US leadership has devalued the media as a source of credible information.
6- no action has been taken to curtail high transmission events like schools and public assemblies

In my opinion there is a high probability that we will have a US pandemic, millions will be infected, 100s of thousands will die and the ensuing social unrest will be even more devastating


Old Bear
Atherton: other
on Mar 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm
Old Bear, Atherton: other
on Mar 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm
16 people like this

4 - US leadership has low credibility
5 - US leadership has devalued the media as a source of credible information.

Yup. At the very same time that US leadership has further devalued it's own credibility.

Funny how that cycle works upon itself.

Time to bring some dignity and respect back.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm
4 people like this

From the Wash Post:

"NEW YORK — First, a lawyer who commutes between the suburbs and his midtown Manhattan office was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Then, his wife and two children tested positive, along with a neighbor who drove him to the hospital.

By Wednesday afternoon, another friend, his wife and three of their children were also infected.

In the span of 48 hours, what began as one family’s medical crisis had spiraled well beyond their Westchester County home, shuttering Jewish schools and synagogues and crystallizing the virus’s power to propel anxiety across a region that is among the nation’s most densely populated."

*********
This scenario is already being replicated all over the entire country. The virus is loose and it will be VERY difficult to contain. Over the next week as the long overdue testing takes place we are probably going to see a disaster unfolding.


Dave from Menlo Park
Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:55 pm
Dave from Menlo Park, Menlo Park: other
on Mar 4, 2020 at 8:55 pm
8 people like this

The shift manager at Whole Foods in Palo Alto told me that a woman on Monday cleaned out the entire stock of anti-microbial wipes. She came to the checkout counter with her grocery cart full snd paid over $1,000 for the lotof it. I suggested that this could constitute a public health hazard and that a limit would not be out of pine. He said he would bring it up with management.


Menlo neighbor
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:10 pm
Menlo neighbor , Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 4, 2020 at 10:10 pm
6 people like this

Rice, beans, pasta. Not what i want to eat when sick with a flu virus. I be stock piling popsicles, Ginger ale, and jello.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:16 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:16 am
4 people like this

From The Economist:

"Yet our own analysis, based on patterns of travel to and from China, suggests that many countries which have spotted tens of cases have hundreds more circulating undetected. Iran, South Korea and Italy are exporting the virus. Now that America has begun looking, it is sure to find scores of infections—and possibly unearth a runaway epidemic. Wherever the virus takes hold, containing it and mitigating its effects will involve more than doctors and paramedics. A concerted effort is needed across the government, especially over how to protect people and companies as supply chains fracture and the worried and the ill shut themselves away.


Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-In-Chief"


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:34 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 9:34 am
4 people like this


Health & Fitness
Shared from Los Gatos, CA
Santa Clara County Confirms 3 More Coronavirus Cases
The most recent cases brings total of confirmed infected persons in the state to 53 including one known fatality.
By Bay City News, News Partner
Mar 5, 2020 9:13 am PT

Reply
The most recent cases brings total of confirmed infected persons in the state to 53 including one known fatality according to the California Department of Public Health.
The most recent cases brings total of confirmed infected persons in the state to 53 including one known fatality according to the California Department of Public Health. (Shutterstock)
SANTA CLARA COUNTY,CA — Three more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Santa Clara County as of Wednesday, according to county health officials.

All three news cases are men, with one of them hospitalized, officials said.

The basis of exposure for the man in the hospital is under investigation and the other two men were close contacts of another previous case.

The California Department of Public Health confirmed the state is up to 53 cases as of Wednesday, including one person who died in Placer County.

Twenty-four of the cases are related to federal repatriation flights, and 29 aren't.

Of the other 24 cases, 12 are travel-related, 10 were contracted from person-to-person contact, 4 are from community transmission and 3 are currently under investigation.

Approximately 9,400 people who have traveled through San Francisco or Los Angeles international airports are self-monitoring


West Menlo
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 5, 2020 at 1:14 pm
West Menlo, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 5, 2020 at 1:14 pm
5 people like this

@ Peter Carpenter: I’d say the US media has done a pretty good job of discrediting themselves. They don’t need any help from anyone to do that...


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 1:58 pm
10 people like this

" I’d say the US media has done a pretty good job of discrediting themselves."

So who do you turn to for good information and leadership these days?

How will we respond to an epidemic without good information and leadership?


West Menlo
Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm
West Menlo, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:16 pm
4 people like this

@Peter: excellent question. When it’s something that I don’t feel has a political agenda behind it, I just go with it. But for things that I feel may be politically slanted, I try to do my own research using multiple sources -the more original the better- and then try to come up with what I think makes the most sense and is most credible. The more national or international the news, I feel the more likelihood there is a political slant, agenda or bias.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:22 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 2:22 pm
6 people like this

" The more national or international the news, I feel the more likelihood there is a political slant, agenda or bias."

Right now , because of the lack of testing in the US, international data is the ONLY good data on this disease.

Try these sites:

Web Link

Web Link




Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:37 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2020 at 5:37 pm
5 people like this

A HUGE change in local public health advice:



Update on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
March 5, 2020: New statement issued from San Mateo County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow.



Public Health Officer Statement (3/5/2020)
This is a difficult message to share, but it is important to recognize how difficult the times ahead may be and how you must now take assertive action to prepare for them. Our local situation surrounding novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly. COVID-19 is spreading in our community, the extent of which is unclear. It has likely been spreading for weeks, perhaps months. I have no reason to believe that how it’s spreading in other counties won’t be replicated to some degree here. We now all need to take assertive actions to inhibit the spread of this new virus. Some of those actions are described below. I advise that individuals, schools, business, and all other sectors of our community take immediate steps to change behaviors and take definitive action.

Our lives will be significantly disrupted by the measures needed to respond to a global pandemic. A pandemic is a global occurrence of an infectious disease. A pandemic is a disaster with unique characteristics. The two most important differences between a pandemic and other disasters are that the whole world is going through this disaster at the same time, and people may become fearful of other people. The current COVID-19 outbreak clearly has the potential to turn into a severe pandemic.

County Health continues to work with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state and local partners to manage testing and monitoring of persons who have been exposed to COVID-19. But our focus is rapidly changing from a containment strategy (identifying cases and contacts) to one of community mitigation—taking steps to lessen the broad impact of the disease. County Health and our public and private partners are taking steps to increase our ability to respond and are planning for a sustained response to COVID-19.

How the world operates during a pandemic is different from how the world operates normally. This is not business as usual. With a pandemic comes significant disruption to supply chains (the process of how things get from where they are made to where they are used), transportation, and travel. Even if the disease is not rapidly spreading in our area, we may face difficulty obtaining the goods and services we are accustomed to, public events may be canceled, and our ability to travel might be restricted.

San Mateo County Health continues to advise that the steps to prevent the spread of flu will also guard against the spread of COVID-19: cover your cough and sneeze, wash your hands frequently, avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands, and if you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, stay home from school or work. If you are mildly ill, there is no need to contact your primary care provider as they are very busy right now. If you are significantly ill, contact your primary care provider.

Here are the most important things for you to consider to improve your personal and organizational preparedness:

What matters most is how households, neighborhoods, community groups, businesses, and other organizations prepare. What does that mean? Preparedness equals self-sufficiency. The government will help where it can, but it may have a limited ability to respond directly to you due to the scale of the disruptions.
Individual and community preparations should focus on three tasks—reducing each person’s chance of getting sick (see both individual and more general public health recommendations both above and below), helping households with basic survival needs during a pandemic, and minimizing and coping with larger disruptions in how the normal day-to-day world works.
All businesses and other organizations should now be done reviewing their continuity of operations plans for how they will operate if their employees are unable to work and how they will interact with members of the public and prepare to implement these plans soon.
All medical facilities and providers should be done reviewing their surge plans for how to handle increased numbers of patients and be prepared to implement.
Getting ready for a pandemic is largely about preparing for possible shortages. In a pandemic, supply chain disruptions are inevitable but are also unpredictable.
Since it contains vital supplies, a good start is to make sure your earthquake kit is up to date and ready to go. Of course, having supplies beyond the typical earthquake kit is a good idea. What you decide to have on hand is based on your individual and family situation and your individual preferences.
One likely shortage will be medications. You should attempt to obtain a couple of months supply for your critical medications.
If you have other critical supply needs, you should conserve them and stock up on them now.
Now is also the time to think about how you will care for loved ones at home if they or you are sick and how you would limit spread within the family.
Frequent and appropriate hand-washing is far from a perfect solution, but it’s easy, under your control, and has no significant downside.
Like washing your hands, wearing a surgical mask may help a bit, but you need to know that surgical masks don’t offer much protection when they are worn by people who are well. They are most helpful when worn by those who are already sick so that they are less likely to transmit the disease to others. Surgical masks and masks offering higher levels of respiratory protection are already in short supply and should be prioritized for use in health care settings.
You should use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as any door handles or elevator buttons.
Change from my previous message: I am now asking for the implementation of the activities below at this time.

All non-essential gatherings should be canceled, postponed, or done remotely. Unfortunately, at this time, I have no standard definition of “non-essential” or “gathering” to guide your decisions. Use your best judgement.
Stop shaking hands.
Increase in the amount of remote working or teleworking to the extent possible especially for those who appear at higher risk for developing the disease, those over the age of 60 and those with co-morbid conditions.
Under all circumstances, stop touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth with your unwashed hands.
I am not asking for the implementation of these activities, but these are the types of activities we may need to implement in the future:

School closures. Schools are an essential gathering. School closings present a particularly vexing social distancing dilemma but may be necessary to protect public health. Once school closings occur, they may be extensive and extended.
Social distancing—staying at least 6 feet away from all other people—should be attempted where possible.
Rationing (a formal process of prioritizing distribution and use) of critical supplies may need to occur.
To get ourselves through the hard times that may be coming, your community may need volunteers. Think now about the skills you have and how you can help your community. Heed the call should volunteers be requested.
Other public health interventions that have been used with some effect in other countries include commandeering of both real or personal property, conscription, curfew, and cordons. It is unlikely that these interventions would be used here due to practical considerations.
Issues around testing for COVID-19. You may have received incorrect information from the federal and state government on March 4, 2020. San Mateo County does not currently have testing available independently of the state and CDC. The amount of testing that is available through the state and CDC is severely limited. Should testing become more widely available, testing will be prioritized based on healthcare infrastructure concerns, risk of exposure, and/or very sick hospitalized patients. Tests will not automatically be given upon request or by a physician’s order. This may change as testing capacity evolves over the next few months.

Scott Morrow, MD, MPH
San Mateo County Health Officer
March 5, 2020

FAQ
WHAT IS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

Novel coronavirus is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. It has now spread to many other countries, including the USA. Technically, the virus is named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes is called COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). See information about 2019 Novel Coronavirus on the CDC website

HOW IS SAN MATEO COUNTY HEALTH RESPONDING?

San Mateo County Health officials are working closely with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. We are providing information to health care providers in our county on how to safely and effectively evaluate ill people who have symptoms. We continue to monitor the situation, work with our partners to identify any possible cases, provide information and consultation to ensure that possible cases are diagnosed and managed safely, as well as implement recommendations from the CDC. Additionally, we conduct full investigations, assist with logistics from transportation to accommodations with all positive cases.

WHAT CAN SAN MATEO COUNTY RESIDENTS/VISITORS DO TO PREVENT COVID-19?

Individuals can prevent illness:

Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
Always cover your cough or sneeze;
Stay home if you are sick and;
If you have recently returned from a country with ongoing COVID-19 infection, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.
Individuals can prepare for the possible disruption caused by an outbreak:
Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family;
Make a child/elderly/adults with disabilities care plan if you or a care giver are sick;
Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure; and
Make a plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
WHERE DID COVID-19 COME FROM?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different types of animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people. The animal source of COVID-19 is not known right now.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

In confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

HOW DOES THE VIRUS SPREAD?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. See How Coronavirus Spreads.

IF I HAVE A FEVER, COUGH, OR SHORTNESS OF BREATH, DO I HAVE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

It is cold and flu season now, and many people have symptoms of illness that are not related to COVID-19. If you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your medical provider right away and tell them about your symptoms and any recent travel. Be sure to call ahead before you visit the office, clinic, or hospital, so that the medical provider can prepare for your visit.

SHOULD I GET TESTED TO SEE IF I HAVE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

On March 4, 2020, CDC updated their guidelines for evaluating and reporting persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 to expand testing to a wider group of symptomatic patients. To avoid overburdening our local health care system this new guidance should be interpreted with caution. We are working with CDC and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to determine how these changes will be operationalized. Once available, we will disseminate additional guidance to medical providers San Mateo County through the routine pathways.

The updated CDC guidelines expand testing to a wider group of symptomatic patients. Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.

Epidemiologic factors that may help guide decisions on whether to test include: any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas* within 14 days of symptom onset.

(*Affected areas are defined as geographic regions where sustained community transmission has been identified. Relevant affected areas will be defined as a country with at least a CDC Level 2 Travel Health Notice. See all COVID-19 Travel Health Notices.)
SHOULD I BE WEARING A MASK TO PREVENT GETTING NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

Good hand washing techniques are the most effective ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. This means washing your hands often with soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds. If you have a fever or cough, a face mask is recommended to prevent spread of germs to others around you. Currently, there is no recommendation to wear masks. However, if you choose to wear a face mask, it is important to understand that face masks are not a substitute for hand washing which is the priority.

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL?

CDC currently recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea. CDC also lists Iran, Italy, and Japan as countries where there is sustained community transmission of COVID-19 and that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel. The worldwide COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, and more countries may be added to these lists. Stay up to date by checking the CDC travel health notices related to this outbreak.

IS THERE A VACCINE FOR NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

No. Efforts to develop a vaccine are underway in many places globally, but currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against novel coronavirus.

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT IF SOMEONE GETS SICK WITH NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

The treatment right now is to take care of the symptoms. There is no specific treatment for novel coronavirus.

I’M FEELING STRESSED AND OVERWHELMED, WHOM CAN I TALK TO?

For information, referrals, and assessments for local mental health and substance use services, please contact your health insurance company to connect to a resource within your insurance company’s network. For residents insured by Medi-Cal, call Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ ACCESS Call Center at (800) 686-0101.

For 24/7 confidential crisis support from local/national organizations, call (650) 579-0350 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Chat online: text “START” to 741741.

I’M A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

We have information about novel coronavirus and other health alerts for clinicians here.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

You can visit San Mateo County Health’s COVID-19 page or visit the CDC’s website COVID-19 page You can also find more information by accessing the links listed below.

RESOURCES FOR COVID-19

Infographic Poster – COVID-19 Stop the Spread of Germs [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers from CDC [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
CDC COVID-19 Fact Sheet [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
CDC What to do if you are Sick with COVID-19 [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
CDC Infographic: COVID-19 Symptoms [Simplified Chinese] [Spanish]
Main CDC COVID-19 Website


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