With positive cases of COVID-19 in Long Beach, we all need to work together to help control the spread of the virus in our city. Prepare, don’t panic. Stay informed and continue basic hygiene practices that will help us and our loved ones stay safe and healthy.
What is the city doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The City Health Department and other jurisdictions are actively working to identify who the patients who tested positive may have come into contact with while infectious and, in addition, which of these individuals may be at the highest risk of developing symptoms. We are closely monitoring these contacts and any healthcare workers who may have been exposed.
At this time, health officials are not recommending the closures of schools or other public facilities, and if that changes, we will provide further instruction.
We have been closely communicating with our partners such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, local hospital emergency departments, urgent care centers and local providers to obtain and provide the most updated guidance regarding COVID-19.
We also have an aggressive communications strategy to ensure that the most important information gets out to you and our vulnerable populations to keep them safe and protected.
What should I do to help prevent contracting COVID-19?
We cannot stress enough the importance of practicing good hygiene practices in order to prevent or lessen the risks of becoming sick. It is our shared responsibility to help prevent the spread of germs.
While most people can recover from COVID-19 the same way they would from the common flu, the virus does seem to cause more severe illness in older adults and those with underlying health conditions. If you belong to these populations, you may want to avoid large gatherings and taking extra precautions to protect yourself from becoming infected.
Here are the best things you can do to prevent contracting COVID-19:
• Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds. Repeat frequently. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
• Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
• Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue and throw away the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or upper sleeve, not your hands.
• Disinfect high touch and frequently used surfaces regularly.
• Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
What should I do if I’m sick?
• Stay home if you are sick. Do not go to work or go out into public spaces. If a member of your household is sick, stay home from school and work to avoid spreading illness to others. Keep your children home from daycare or school if they are sick.
• Limit close contact with others while you are sick. Try to stay at least at least six feet away from others. If you are unable to maintain a six-foot distance, wear a face mask.
• Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for you to use, if possible.
• Rest, drink lots of fluids and take over-the-counter medicine to manage fever or other symptoms.
• Continue practicing everyday preventative actions. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
What should I do if I think I’ve become infected?
• If you are experiencing shortness of breath, call 9-1-1 immediately.
• If you think you may have become infected and you start exhibiting symptoms such as fever or cough, call first, don’t visit, your healthcare provider immediately.
• If you do not have a healthcare provider, call our COVID-19 information hotline at 562-570-INFO (4636). Representatives will ask you questions to determine next steps.
How can I prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak?
We are taking the threat of community transmission very seriously. To prepare for potential self-isolation, we recommend you:
• Store a two-week supply of food and other important items you rely on, including food for any pets you may have.
• Check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
• Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
• Create a household plan of action. Be prepared if your child’s school or childcare facility is temporarily dismissed and plan for potential changes at your workplace.
• Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home. Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications.
• Wearing a surgical mask when you’re sick may help prevent you from infecting others, but wearing a mask when you’re not sick will not prevent you from getting sick.
A full list of recommendations for COVID-19 preparation can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
For all of the latest guidance and up to date information regarding COVID-19, follow the City’s social media channels, the hashtag #COVID19LongBeach and visit our website at longbeach.gov/COVID19.
Dr. Anissa Davis is the Long Beach city health officer.