California has had 71,141 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,934 deaths caused by the disease to date, the state’s Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.
Racial Demographics – A More Complete Picture
The California Department of Public Health is committed to health equity and collecting more detailed racial and ethnic data that will provide additional understanding for determining future action. Health outcomes are affected by forces including structural racism, poverty and the disproportionate prevalence of underlying conditions such as asthma and heart disease among Latinos and African American Californians. Only by looking at the full picture can we understand how to ensure the best outcomes for all Californians.
The differences in health outcomes related to COVID-19 are most stark in COVID-19 deaths. We have nearly complete data on race and ethnicity for COVID-19 deaths, and we are seeing the following trends.
Overall, for adults 18 and older, Latinos, African Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are dying at disproportionately higher levels. The proportion of COVID-19 deaths in African Americans is about double their population representation across all adult age categories. For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, overall numbers are low, but there is nearly a four-fold difference between the proportion of COVID-19 deaths and their population representation. More males are dying from COVID-19 than females, in line with national trends.
More information is available at COVID-19 Race and Ethnicity Data.
Testing in California
Twenty-five public health labs in California are testing samples for COVID-19. These labs include the California Department of Public Health’s Laboratory in Richmond, Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Fresno, Humboldt, Imperial, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey, Napa-Solano-Yolo-Marin (located in Solano), Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sonoma, Tulare and Ventura County public health laboratories. The Richmond Laboratory will provide diagnostic testing within a 48-hour turnaround time. This means California public health officials will get test results sooner, so that patients will get the best care.
New Data Portal
The state has launched a new, user-friendly data portal at update.covid19.ca.gov that tracks COVID-19 cases statewide and by county, gender, age and ethnicity. The portal also outlines statewide hospitalizations and testing efforts. The data presented on the portal will be updated daily and will include additional information as it is available.
How People Can Protect Themselves
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The virus spreads mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). This occurs by 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. Surfaces can also get infected.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like hypertension, obesity, heart or lung disease, diabetes or asthma seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Every person has a role to play. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense:
– Staying home except for essential needs/activities.
* Stay home except for essential needs/activities.
* Practice physical distancing – stay 6 feet away from people.
* Wear a cloth face mask if you leave home.
* Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
* Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
* Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
* Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow or a tissue. Wash hands afterward.
* Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
* Stay home and away from people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
* If you smoke or vape, consider quitting. Smoking and vaping cause harm to the lungs.
* Follow guidance from public health officials.
Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
Who is at Higher Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19?
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
* Older adults (65+)
* Individuals with compromised immune systems
* Individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
– Heart disease
– Lung disease
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or health condition, it is important for you to take extra actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease:
* Stay home. It’s the most important thing you can do.
* Avoid contact with people who are sick. Isolate anyone sick in your home in a separate room, if possible.
* Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks. Wipe off containers with disinfectant wipes.
It is also important that you listen to public health officials who may recommend community actions to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19, especially if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
For more information visit the CDC’s website.
What if I’m sick?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Typically, human coronaviruses cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms are wide ranging and can be similar to the flu, including:
* Shortness of breath
* Repeated shaking with chills
* Muscle pain
* Sore Throat
* New loss of taste or smell
COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness. If you have any of the emergency warning signs listed below, you should contact your medical provider immediately:
* Trouble breathing
* Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
* New confusion
* Bluish lips or face
What if I have symptoms?
Patient: If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider before seeking care. Contacting them in advance will make sure that people can get the care they need without putting others at risk. Please be sure to tell your health care provider about your travel history.
You can also take the following precautionary measures: avoid contact with sick individuals, wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Health Care Provider: Patients who may have infection with this novel coronavirus should wear a surgical mask and be placed in an airborne infection isolation room. If an airborne infection isolation room is not available, the patient should be placed in a private room with the door closed. Health care providers should use standard, contact and airborne precautions and use eye protection.
Please see “Update and Interim Guidance on Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China” for more information about infection control.
The Public Health Department will issue All Facility Letters to regulated healthcare facilities within California with updated information and guidance; these can be found on the AFL webpage.
For county-level data, access the COVID-19 Public Dashboard.
For skilled nursing facility data, visit Skilled Nursing Facilities: COVID-19.
For more information about what Californians can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California.
California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting California from COVID-19. Consolidated guidance is available on the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance webpage.