What to Do
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends members of the public do the following to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:
- Follow Los Angeles County’s Public Health Officer Orders. For more information, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus
- Follow all physical distancing recommendations issued by Public Health.
- If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days and until 72 hours after being fever and symptom free. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.
- Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
- Get a flu immunization to prevent influenza if you have not done so this season.
- If you are self-quarantined, make sure you connect with the Department of Public Health so that you have all the necessary follow-up and supplies.
- Call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings
As part of the "Safer at Home" Health Officer Order, face coverings are required when leaving your home and around others outside your household, when using public transportation, and when unable to physically distance. For example, if you are out walking or running solo or with your family and are not around others, then a face covering is not required. However, if you come in contact with others outside your family and cannot physically distance, then a face covering is required. As a result, you must carry a face covering with you at all times.
*Exception: Children under the age of two and individuals with chronic respiratory conditions or other medical conditions that make use of a face-mask hazardous are exempt from this requirement.Businesses also require customers to wear face coverings and have the right to refuse service to those who do not comply with the Health Officer Order.
Read the CDC’s guidance on cloth face coverings at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Read the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s guidance on cloth face coverings at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/GuidanceClothFaceCoverings.pdf
Older Adults/Persons with Chronic Illnesses
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has prepared a public service announcement addressing the specific needs of older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems.
If You Test Positive or Were Exposed to Someone Who Did
Pursuant to Public Health Officer Orders issued by the County of Los Angeles, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are presumed to be positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days and 72 hours after fever and symptoms subside. This means you must stay home until your fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications and there is improvement in your respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) for at least 3 days (72 hours) after recovery, AND at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared or you were tested.
If you have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to be infected with COVID-19, you must quarantine for 14 days from your last contact with that individual. If you begin experiencing symptoms, you must self-isolate for 10 days and 72 hours after fever and symptoms subside. Individuals who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions may be at higher risk of serious illness and should contact their doctor as soon as they are sick.
Please note that the time period that a patient with COVID-19 is considered infectious begins 48 hours before symptom onset. This is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 are required to notify all persons with whom they had close contact beginning 48 hours before their symptom onset.
Home isolation instructions for people with COVID-19 are available at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/docs/HomeisolationenCoV.pdf
Home quarantine guidelines for close contacts to COVID-19 patients are available at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/docs/COVHomeQuarantine.pdf
COVID-19 and Pets
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control reminds the public that dogs and cats have their own coronavirus, which is NOT the same virus as COVID-19. There is no current evidence that you will get COVID-19 from your family pet. If you are sick with COVID-19, it is recommended to limit close contact with pets until more information is known about the virus. You should always wash your hands after handling animals as a general rule. Owners should include pets in their emergency preparedness planning, including a two-week supply of food and medications.
For more information, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/FAQ-PetOwners.pdf
Keeping Kids and Pets Safer at Home
School closures due to the coronavirus pandemic have significantly changed home life for both families and their pets. Children are now home full time, learning new ways to engage with their teachers while continuing their education. Smaller children that would be in day care or pre-school are also home. Parents working from home may be distracted by work responsibilities and challenged to monitor their children’s and pets’ interactions.
As a result, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control has seen an alarming increase in the reporting of dog bites to children. Most of these situations have occurred when the family dog was eating, playing with a toy, challenged, or hurt by a child. Cats will scratch and even bite if they are threatened or cornered. Keep your children safe and your pets happy by following these suggestions:
- Recognize that your pets need their own time for rest and de-stressing. A house full of kids all day long can be exhausting for a pet, particularly if multiple children are constantly engaging with it and not giving it time to recharge. Pets should have quiet places where they can retreat, and the children should be taught that they must not disturb the pet when it is resting. Create a retreat for your pets by blocking off an area that they like and make sure the children understand that the pets should not be disturbed when they are using their retreats. Cozy dog crates work great for most dogs, and cats enjoy carpeted cat trees with hiding dens.
- Remember that small children are not good at recognizing signs of stress or danger from animals. Growling, hissing, avoidance, stiff body posture, whale-eye, raised hackles, twitching tails (cats), nervousness, and lip licking are just some behaviors that demonstrate the pet’s anxiety is increasing and could result in a bite. Always monitor pet and children interactions so you can recognize the early warning signals and intervene before the situation becomes dangerous. Most pets give ample warning before a bite, but frequently a child is not able to recognize the warning signs. They may push the animal until it feels it has no more choices.
- Be especially protective of older pets. They are likely to have some varying degree of arthritis. It may be painful if a child pats them too hard, hugs them, or falls on them. Many older animals lose their hearing and/or vision and can become startled and alarmed when a child suddenly appears within their space.
- Also be protective of small or fragile animals. Children can unintentionally injure them and cause pain resulting in a reactive bite.
- Do not allow children to interfere with a pet when it is eating. This should be a stressor and distraction-free time for a pet to enjoy their meal. Many dogs have a natural desire to protect their food and may fear the child is competing for the meal. This is a common reason for dog bites to children.
- Always supervise children and pets when they are playing together. Toys can be a source of competition and a dog might bite if its toy is removed. Tug of war can result in accidental bites if a dog grabs for a better hold on the toy and accidentally catches the child’s hand.
- Do not allow children to climb on dogs, pull their ears, play with their mouths, tug their tails, or engage in other aggravating behaviors. Many animal control officers cringe when they see photos or videos of children climbing on large dogs, noticing the anxiety and stress of the dog and knowing that bite is likely to result from this unwanted aggravation.