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Last Update 6/10/21

COVID-19 Facts

How Does COVID-19 Spread and Who Is At Risk?

Public health officials with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are continuing to study the spread and effects of COVID-19 across the United States. The CDC does not fully understand how it spreads but it seems to infect people fairly easily for those in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus is thought to be mainly spread through droplets of fluid that a person coughs or sneezes into the air. It may also be spread if you touch a surface with the virus on it, such as a door knob, steering wheel, or a store key pad, and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

People are thought to be most contagious when they have symptoms and are sick. However, studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the coronavirus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the coronavirus can spread between people interacting in close proximity. It is important that you frequently keep your hands washed and maintain at least 6 feet distance from other people when you go out in public places. Effective June 15, 2021, revised LA County mask guidelines are in the California Dept. of Public Health update (updated June 9, 2021).

You are most at risk if you are over 60 years of age. People of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19: cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant, obesity, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. People with other conditions might be at an increased risk, including pregnant women.

Current cases in Los Angeles County, the United States, and the spread by state is on our COVID-19 Facts page, updated regularly.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

Some people who have been sick from COVID-19 have had only mild symptoms while others have become severely ill. Symptoms usually appear gradually, 2 to 14 days after exposure. People with the following symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of smell and taste
  • Congestion or runny nose

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness. This list is not all inclusive. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Please consult with your doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Severe Symptoms

If you have any of these emergency warning signs get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

This list is not all possible symptoms. Please consult with your doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you. Call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.

What Should I Do If I Think I'm Sick With COVID-19?

If you have mild symptoms, there may be no need to see a doctor. If you are feeling sick and think you might have COVID-19, contact your primary care doctor by phone or email first before going in. Your doctor’s office will decide the next steps for your care. If you are elderly, have underlying health conditions or are pregnant may be at higher risk of serious illness and should contact your doctor early if you are sick. Call 911 if you are having a medical emergency. This information was obtained from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH).

In addition, to help prevent the spread to others, if you are mildly sick, the CDC and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) have issued guidelines on what to do. Visit the CDC website for more information, updated on May 17, 2021. The LACDPH has provided downloadable PDFs with information about staying home and home isolation. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen.

If you are coming to Valley Presbyterian Hospital's Emergency Department or another entrance, and you have a fever, cough or problems breathing, please call ahead beforehand or let our care team know immediately upon arrival so that we can safely provide appropriate care. Please be advised that Valley Presbyterian Hospital has revised its visitor policy. More information is on our COVID-19 portal page.

Can I Get Tested for the Coronavirus at Valley Presbyterian Hospital?

The City of Los Angeles is providing free COVID-19 testing to all Los Angeles County residents, whether or not you are experiencing symptoms. Priority is given to people with symptoms. For more information visit the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Testing page.

If you have come to Valley Presbyterian Hospital and have symptoms, we will test you for the virus. Testing is done with a nose and throat swap and a small sample taken of mucus coughed from your lungs. Please be advised that Valley Presbyterian Hospital has revised its visitor policy. More information is on our COVID-19 portal page. More information about the treatment of COVID-19 is on our Facts page.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Currently Available?

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, since January 5, 2021 vaccinations have proceeded throughout Los Angeles County. The vaccination is available to any resident aged 12 and older. Residents may receive communication from their health care provider with information on how to receive the vaccine. To find additional County information, sign up for email notifications, or sign up for a vaccine appointment, visit the Los Angeles County Covid-19 Vaccine page.

As of June 4, 2021 over 4.5 million Los Angeles County residents have been fully vaccinated, which is about 54% of the local population, over 10% higher than nationally.

According to the CDC nationally, there have been nearly 305 million vaccines administered through June 9, 2021 in the United States. Over 172 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is about 52% of the U.S. population. Nearly 141 million people have received two doses, or about 42% of the population.

Are the Los Angeles Safer at Home and Worker Protection Orders Still in Place?

Social distancing and certain mask requirements are in place for unvaccinated and vaccinated residents. The County issued revised reopening guidance again on June 2, 2021, based on the Yellow (Minimal) Tier, the least restrictive tier. This is due to the decline in cases, hospitalizations and positive tests in the County, however, there are still COVID-19 cases. Residents must continue exercising caution. Outdoor activities are considered safer than indoor ones. When leaving your home, residents should continue to practice social distancing (staying 6 feet away from people who don't live with you), wash hands frequently, avoid crowds, and wear a mask (based on mask guidelines, effective June 15, 2021.)

As of June 2nd, the following businesses may reopen with social distancing and specific infection control protocols:

These include: Indoor malls and shopping centers, with capacity at 75%; food courts are limited to 50%; restaurants for delivery, drive-thru, carry out, outdoor dining, and 50% capacity for indoor dining; restaurants with family entertainment are limited to 25% indoor capacity; grocery stores at 50% capacity; indoor personal care establishments (hair salons, nail salons, skin care, tattoo parlors, massage therapy) by appointment only at 75% capacity; outdoor gyms at full capacity; indoor gyms and dance studios at 50% capacity; outside portions of museums, galleries, botanical gardens, zoos, and aquariums at full capacity; indoor portions of museums, galleries, botanical gardens, zoos, and aquariums at 75% capacity; indoor batting cages and miniature golf venues at 50% capacity; outdoor playgrounds and recreational parks including beaches, golf courses, swimming pools, trails, parks, day camps, and camping parks; movie theaters at 50% capacity; and libraries with curbside pick up. Other low risk retailers such as bookstores, pet food stores, and hardware stores are open, as well as hotels and short term rentals with safeguards. Also open are indoor faith-based services at 50% capacity; and office-based businesses when teleworking is not possible, such as film and television production.

Professional services, such as legal, payroll, accounting, and real estate that require appointments should continue conducting them virtually but if virtual is not feasible, may be done in-person following County protocols.

In addition, the following businesses are also open: professional sports that have live audiences during a game or event with implementation of LA County protocols; family entertainment centers with indoor operations (such as indoor bowling alleys, arcades) with 50% capacity; public entertainment venues (live performance, concerts, and festivals) with indoor seating following LA County protocols and outdoor operations at 67% capacity; amusement and theme parks at 35% capacity; wineries and craft distilleries at 50% of indoor capacity or 200 people whichever is fewer; bars and clubs that pose a low risk with outdoor and indoor operations, at a maximum indoor capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Additional information is in the latest City of Los Angeles Public Order update (updated May 21, 2021), LA County Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community Revised Order (updated June 2, 2021), and on the LA County Reopening page (updated June 2, 2021).

Effective June 15, 2021, revised LA County mask guidelines are in the California Dept. of Public Health update (updated June 9, 2021).

What Is the Status of Reopening Schools and Colleges?

As of March 15, 2021 the state is permitting all public and private schools (grades K - 12) in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to reopen for in-class instruction after meeting safety measures. Additional information is in the latest LA County Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community Revised Order (updated June 2, 2021).

Until all schools are reopened, the remainder of LAUSD students will continue with online instruction. For more information and resources, visit the LAUSD website or call their hotline at 213.443.1300.

As of March 15, 2021 colleges and universities may continue in-person essential operations and indoor academic instruction at 50% occupancy or 200 people, whichever is less, with distance learning continuing to be offered to the extent practicable. Additional information is in the latest LA County Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community Revised Order (updated June 2, 2021).

What Can I Do to Protect Myself and My Family From the COVID-19 Coronavirus?

There are steps that everyone can take daily to reduce the risk of getting sick or infecting others with these types of viruses. Please follow the list of guidelines below. We also have helpful tips on our Covid-19 Video page.

  • Follow the Safer at LA guidelines for residents. More information is above.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or going to the bathroom. You should also wash your hands before eating.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet distance from others when you go out.
  • Wear a mask following revised LA County mask guidelines, effective June 15, 2021. More information is in the California Dept. of Public Health update (updated June 9, 2021). Visit our Video page for a CDC video on how to wear a mask.
  • Limit close contact like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces using regular household disinfectant cleaning spray.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Help your immune system: Eat nutritional food, get 7 - 9 hours of sleep each night, try to minimize and manage stress, exercise regularly, and stop or cut back on smoking. If you have a health condition, discuss with your doctor an exercise and nutritional plan that is right for you.

You can also take these additional steps:

  • Find a primary doctor if you don't already have one to be prepared, in case you do get sick. Our Find-A-Doctor portal has a list of physicians in our area, or you can use other sources such as referrals from friends and family members.
What Are the Guidelines for Wearing Masks?

Valley Presbyterian Hospital requires all visitors and patients entering the hospital to wear a hospital-issued mask. Visit our Video page for a CDC video on how to wear a mask.

Effective June 15, 2021, revised LA County mask guidelines are in the California Dept. of Public Health update (updated June 9, 2021).

When in public, cloth face coverings can be non-medical masks, bandanas or scarves, or made at home from t-shirts or pieces of cloth. Visit our Video page for a CDC video that shows how to make your own mask or visit the CDC website for step-by-step instructions. It is important that you wash your hands before you put your mask on and immediately after you take it off. If it is disposable, throw it away in a plastic lined trash can. If it is washable, it is recommended that you wash it after removing it.

Is Social Distancing Still Needed?

Yes. Residents should continue to practice social distancing (staying 6 feet away from people who don't live with you), wash hands frequently, and wear a face covering when leaving your home based on revised guidelines effective June 15, 2021 in the California Dept. of Public Health update (updated June 9, 2021).

Additional information is in the latest City of Los Angeles Public Order update (updated May 21, 2021), LA County Reopening Safer at Work and in the Community Revised Order (updated June 2, 2021), and on the LA County Reopening page (updated June 2, 2021).

What Is Valley Presbyterian Hospital Doing to Protect Patients and Visitors?

At Valley Presbyterian Hospital, the health and safety of patients, visitors, employees, physicians, and the community remain our top priority. We continue to revise and adhere to the latest California Department of Public Health guidelines and strict infection-control practices through the post COVID-19 pandemic period. Accordingly, as of May 28, 2021 our visitation practices have been revised. Please visit our Visiting Hours page for detailed information.

Also, please check our COVID-19 portal page for Valley Presbyterian Hospital information, updates and other resources. You may also call our Hotline at 818.902.3999 for information about COVID-19. Call 911 if you are having a medical emergency.

What Should I Do If I Feel Stressed Out About COVID-19?

It is normal to feel anxious or show signs of stress even if the outbreak hasn't affected you personally or you are at low risk of getting sick. It is important to care for your own physical and mental health. For tips on how you can cope, visit the Covid-19 Mental Health Resources page from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. You can also call their 24/7 Helpline at 800.854.7771 or call 2-1-1.

Sources on this page include: Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Los Angeles County Department of Health (LACDPH), City of Los Angeles, and World Health Organization (WHO). Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for more information.


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