COVID-19 FAQ and Resources

Below you will find answers to questions most frequently asked about COVID-19.

Symptoms and Testing

What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment
  • SARS is also caused by the coronavirus. The virus that causes SARS is known as SARS-CoV, while the virus that causes COVID-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2. There are also other types of human coronaviruses

What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause? 

  • Symptoms include:
    • Fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • This list does not include all possible symptoms
  • Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can occur 2-14 days after initial exposure to the virus

Is it possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

  • Influenza and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses. Though unusual, it is possible to get exposed to and infected with both at the same time.

Should I get tested for COVID-19? 

  • Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19
  • Most people have a mild illness and can recover at home without medical care
  • If you are experiencing symptoms and want to be tested, contact your healthcare provider first
  • Visit state or local health department website for the latest local information on testing

Can a person test negative and then later test positive for COVID-19? 

  • It is possible to test negative and later test positive for COVID-19
  • If your test comes back negative, you may have not been infected at the time or it is possible that you were very early in your infection when the sample was collected
  • You could also be exposed to the virus after having tested negative

What kind of test is being used to diagnose if I have COVID-19? 

  • The COVID-19 viral test uses respiratory samples, such as swabs from inside your nose or mouth, identifying whether or not you have the virus that causes COVID-19, Sars-CoV-2

What is an antibody test?  Can I be tested using this method?        

  • Antibody tests check your blood for antibodies, a blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen, helping to fight off infections and usually provide protection against getting the disease again (immunity.) Antibodies may be present in your blood if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • If you think that you have been exposed to COVID-19, check with your healthcare provider to see whether or not it is appropriate to get an antibody test

If I have recovered from COVID-19, can I get it again? 

  • If you test positive for COVID-19 on an antibody test, or have tested positive on a viral test and have recovered, you should still take preventative measures to protect yourself and others
  • We also do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do have immunity, how long this protection lasts

How COVID-19 Spreads

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 is mostly spread from person to person, mainly through 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 inhaled into the lungs.
  • Viral spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within 6 ft.)
  • Though not the primary form of transmission, a person can also get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes

Can someone who has recovered from COVID-19 spread the illness to others? 

  • People who had COVID-19 and have been released from isolation, no longer pose a risk of infecting others.
  • People with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others even when they are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) but people are thought to be the most contagious when they are symptomatic

Can someone who has been quarantined for COVID-19 spread the illness to others? 

  • Quarantine refers to separating a person or a group who has been exposed to COVID-19but have not developed the illness or shown symptoms, from other people in order to prevent the possible spread of the disease.
  • Someone who has been released from COVID-19 quarantine is not considered a risk for spreading the virus to others because they did not develop the virus during the incubation period

Can the virus be spread through food, including restaurants take-out, refrigerated or frozen package food? 

  • There is likely a very low risk of spread from food products or packaging, in fact, there is currently is no scientific evidence to support that the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food
  • Before preparing or eating your food, it’s important to always thoroughly was your hands
  • It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like packaging containers that may have the virus and then touching your own face, though that is not the main way the virus spreads.

Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19? 

  • It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19
  • Some viruses like the common cold or flu, spread more during colder seasons, but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick during hotter months
  • There is still a lot to learn about the transmissibility, severity and other issues associated with COVID-19

COVID-19 and Children

What is the risk of a child becoming sick with COVID-19? 

  • Based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19 than adults
  • While some children/infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases

How can I protect my child from COVID-19 infection? 

  • Take every day preventative measures- wash hands, disinfect routinely, practice social distancing
  • Watch your child for any signs of COVID illness

Are the symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults? 

  • No, the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms.

How do I prepare my children in case of COVID-19 outbreak in our community?

  • Teach them and reinforce everyday preventative actions and be a good role model
  • Encourage them to play outdoors (if possible) and use indoor activity breaks (stretch/dance breaks) to help your child stay healthy and focused
  • Stay connected with friends and family via phone, video chats, or letters
  • Talk to your children about the outbreak, help them stay calm and reassure them they are safe.

Should children wear masks? 

  • Children under the age of 2 should not wear masks or cloth coverings- choking/suffocation hazard
  • The CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering when they are out in public.

How to Protect Yourself

How can I protect myself? 

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the disease
  • Wash your hands often- with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public areas, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Learn how to properly wash your hands:
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people outside of your household-
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between other people, do not gather in groups, stay away from crowded places and avoid mass gatherings, and avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Use a face covering that covers your nose and mouth whenever you are out in public but be mindful that face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, phones, keyboards, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc.)
  • Monitor your health- watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms

Does CDC recommend the use of face masks or face coverings to prevent COVID-19? 

  • The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings every time you leave your home
  • Face coverings help to slow the spread of the virus by protecting you from others and others from you
  • Even if you are wearing a face covering, it is still very important to maintain social distancing rules
  • Medical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers by current CDC guidance

What should I do if I have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19? 

  • If you have come in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, it’s important take the following steps:
    • Self-Isolate- stay home, stay in a specific room and away from others and pets in your home, if possible, use a separate bathroom, and if you need to be around others in your home, use a face covering
    • Take care of yourself- get rest and stay hydrated
    • Stay in touch with your doctor- call if you need to get medical care or have any questions
    • Avoid public transportation
    • Monitor yourself for new or worsening symptoms
    • Seek emergency medical attention if symptoms get really bad- trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake or bluish lips/face

What is social distancing? 

  • Social distancing means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home
  • To practice social distancing: stay at least 6 ft. away from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.
  • Learn more:

Higher Risk

Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19? 

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised
      • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
    • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥40)
    • People with diabetes
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • People with liver disease

What should people at higher risk or serious illness with COVID-19 do? 

  • Stock up on supplies
  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Take everyday precautions- practice social distancing, wash hands, disinfect routinely
  • Avoid all non-essential travel
  • Watch for symptoms

Are people with disabilities at higher risk? 

  • Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. Some people with physical limitations or other disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection because of their underlying medical condition.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about your personal health

COVID-19 and Animals

Can I get COVID-19 from my pet or other animals? 

  • At this time there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Do I need to get my pet tested for COVID-19? 

  • At this time routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended

Is it safe to walk my pet outdoors? 

  • Walking your dog is still important for both animal and human health and well-being
  • Walk your dogs on a leash and maintain at least 6ft. distance from other people and animals
  • Do not go to dog parks or public places where large groups of people and dogs gather
  • Do not let other people pet your dog
  • Keep your cats indoors and away from other people, if possible
  • A face covering is recommended when walking your animal outdoors if you chance encountering others

Emotional Support Resources

Testing in Los Angeles County

If you are experiencing any symptoms, find your nearest testing location here: