Public Health Topics

HEALTH UPDATE: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

REVISED April 3, 2020

Latest COVID-19 Updates:
Beach Cities Health District is working with LA County and the city of Redondo Beach to bring a COVID-19 testing site to South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach – Click here to determine eligibility and to schdule a COVID-19 test. 
   Need Help: During this time of heightened health concern, BCHD is available to offer help and support. If you or someone you know in the Beach Cities needs assistance with errands, health-related information or referrals, please call our Assistance, Information & Referral line at 310-374-3426, ext. 256, seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or submit an online request here


Beach Cities COVID-19 Fund  |  Social Distancing  |  Isolation and Quarantine  |  Testing for COVID-19  |   Cloth Face Coverings   |  COVID-19 Updates  |  Prevention Recommendations  |   More Information on COVID-19

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Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Beach Cities COVID-19 Fund:

Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Beach Cities Health District has established a Beach Cities COVID-19 Fund to help residents impacted by COVID-19. The purpose of this fund is to provide vulnerable groups (older adults and adults with underlying health conditions) who are income qualified with essentials like groceries and household and cleaning supplies. Residents wishing to submit donations by check can mail those to Beach Cities COVID-19 Fund, 1200 Del Amo Street, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. 


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Social Distancing:

Without a specific vaccine or treatment for this disease, social distancing is the most effective and readily available tool we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should be aware and practice social distancing. Social distancing measures include: 

  • Staying 6 ft apart from others
  • Avoiding nonessential travel
  • Avoiding public gatherings, places where large groups congregate and event venues
  • Avoiding crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces
  • Using verbal salutations in place of handshakes or hugs

The following groups are at higher risk for experiencing severe illness from COVID-19:

  • Older adults (65 years and older)
    • Early data suggest older adults are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. This may be because immune systems change with age, making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Older adults also are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, cancer or compromised immune systems

Isolation and Quarantine:

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Isolation Order states that all individuals who have been diagnosed with or who are likely to have COVID-19 must isolate themselves in their home for a period of 7 days, and 3 days of being symptom-free. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Quarantine Order states that all household contacts, intimate partners, caregivers and close contacts who have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 while that person was symptomatic must quarantine themselves for 14 days. People are considered infectious 48 hours before the start of their symptoms until their isolation period ends.

Testing for COVID-19:

There are two ways to get tested for COVID-19.

  1. If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19 and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider or local health department before seeking care. Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to local emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care.  If you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 for help finding a clinician near you.
  2. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) has established testing sites across LA County. Tests through LA County are free and strictly limited to residents of LA County who are in the most high-risk categories and most vulnerable.

LACDPH COVID-19 Testing at the South Bay Galleria
We have been working with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the City of Redondo Beach to support COVID-19 testing efforts in the South Bay and our community during this unprecedented time.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is the lead agency for the COVID-19 testing at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach. These tests are free of charge. 
All tests at the South Bay Galleria will be by appointment only. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has established a website with the City of Los Angeles to schedule appointments.
For the moment, tests through LA County are strictly limited to residents of LA County who are in the most high-risk categories and most vulnerable.
Note: If you are experiencing acute symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or are in distress related to COVID-19 symptoms, contact your physician. If it is an emergency, dial 911.
For more questions about testing, please visit the City of Los Angeles' FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions.

Cloth Face Coverings:

Recent data indicates that covering your nose and mouth can slow the spread of COVID-19 because:

  • Individuals can be contagious before the onset of symptoms. You may be contagious and not know it. If you have covered your nose and mouth, it can limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • We touch our face less when our face is covered. Touching your face after touching something contaminated with COVID-19 increases your chances of getting sick with COVID-19.

Because of this evidence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining six-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health agrees, saying the best community and individual defense against COVID-19 is washing our hands frequently, avoiding touching our eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding being around sick people and practicing six-feet physical distancing, especially by staying at home. Face coverings are not a replacement for these evidence-based measures; they are an additional tool that may be used to protect us from exposure to COVID-19 when used properly. Cloth face coverings are not intended for use in healthcare or other occupational settings.

How well do cloth face coverings work to prevent the spread of COVID-19? There is limited evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Their primary role is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well.

Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and washing hands and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.

Why might I cover my face now, when a face covering was not recommended before? The face covering was not previously recommended for the general public for protection from getting COVID-19. We are learning that individuals may be contagious and spread COVID-19 without their knowledge, even if they do not have symptoms. This new information suggests that a face cover may protect others from infection. Wearing a face cover may help prevent the spread of droplets that might be infectious.

When should I wear a cloth face covering? You may choose to wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth when you must be in public for essential activities, such as shopping at the grocery store. Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others and to wash your hands frequently.

Acceptable, reusable face covering options for the general public include:

  • Bandana
  • Neck gaiter
  • Homemade face covering
  • Scarf
  • Tightly woven fabric, such as cotton t-shirts and some types of towels

COVID-19 Updates:

LA County:

  • As of April 3, there are 4,566 confirmed cases in LA County including 89 deaths
  • On March 27, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an addendum to the Safer at Home Order to include the temporary closure of public trails and trailheads, beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points. Read the Health Officer Order here.
  • On March 25, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued two new Health Officer Orders: Home Isolation and Home Quarantine. The Isolation Order states that all individuals who have been diagnosed with or who are likely to have COVID-19 must isolate themselves in their home for a period of 7 days, and 3 days of being symptom-free. The Quarantine Order states that all household contacts, intimate partners, caregivers and close contacts who have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 while that person was symptomatic must quarantine themselves for 14 days.
  • On March 21, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued an enhanced Health Officer Order to reconcile elements in the March 19 Health Officer Order necessary to be consistent with the Governor’s Order. The enhanced Order prohibits all gatherings and events, and clarifies that golf courses and personal grooming services (including hair and nail salons) are non-essential services that are closed. Read the Health Officer Order here.  
  • On March 19, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a Safer at Home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order further restricts and limits gatherings and requires the closure of malls, shopping centers, children's playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses. Essential businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals and pharmacies are open. Read the Health Officer Order here
  • On March 16, LACDPH issued a Health Officer Order to prohibit group events and gatherings, require social distancing measures and the closure of certain businesses, including bars, gyms, movie theaters and entertainment centers. Read the Order here.
  • On March 9, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported it was investigating two additional cases of COVID-19. One case traveled through Japan. One case has an unidentified source of exposure, therefore LACDPH has determined this is the first possible case of community transmission in LA County.
  • On March 4, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Public Health declared a local and public health emergency in response to increased spread of coronavirus across the country and six additional cases in LA County. LACDPH stated that none of the new cases are from community spread, and all of these new cases were exposed to COVID-19 through close contacts. None of these cases were linked to the first case reported in LA County in January.
  • LA County officials recommend reviewing emergency supplies such as extra food, water and medications. For more emergency preparedness tips, visit or


  • On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom also announced a Stay at Home order for the state of California: All individuals living in the State of California are to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, critical government services, schools, childcare, and construction, including housing construction. More information here.
  • On March 15, Governor Gavin Newsom directed closure of California's bars, brewpubs, wineries and nightclubs, and called on people over 65 and others at higher risk of serious complications from exposure to the virus to stay at home. 
  • On March 11, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California public health officials this evening issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines. Read more here.

United States:

  • As of March 30, 2020, the CDC reports there have been 140,904 confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 and 2,405 deaths detected through U.S. public health surveillance systems in 55 jurisdictions. Infections have been reported internationally
  • On March 16, the White House released Coronavirus Guidelines for America:
    • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work or school. 
    • If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, keep the entire household home. Do not go to work or school. Contact your medical provider.
    • If you are an older adult or person with a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from other people
    • Work or engage in schooling FROM HOME whenever possible
    • If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
    • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people
    • Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts - use drive-thru, pick up or delivery options 
    • Avoid nonessential travel and activities 
    • Do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance
    • Continue to practice good hygiene 
  • On January 31, the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency to aid the healthcare community in responding to the coronavirus.
  • The first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread was reported in the U.S. on January 30, 2020.

Prevention Recommendations:

Activities that can prevent the spread of more common respiratory infections, like the flu, can be effective at preventing the spread of novel coronavirus. 

Prevention Recommendations:

  • When you’re sick, stay home and limit contact with others, even for mild illnesses
    • If you are mildly sick:
      • Stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer 
      • 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
    • If you have questions, please call the clinic or your doctor before going in. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 211 for assistance finding support near you.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Sick people can spread viruses through close contact with others such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands or sharing utensils.
  • 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.
  • If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve or elbow (not your hands)
  • Get your flu vaccine to protect yourself and your family, and reduce the potential strain on the healthcare system, which may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.
  • Practicing simple social distancing strategies that limit your exposure to others who may be ill (verbal salutations in place of handshakes and hugs, not sharing utensils, cups and linens, staying six feet apart from others at public events) 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. Germs can build up on frequently touched objects such as phones, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches and children's toys. 
  • Have an ample supply of essentials at home including water, food, hygiene, medications and pet food
    • Plan for the possibility of business disruptions, school closures, and modifications/cancellations of select public events
  • Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
    • It is not recommended that people who are well wear a mask to protect themselves from COVID-19 unless a healthcare professional advises it.
    • A facemask should be used by people with COVID-19 who have symptoms to protect others from getting infected.
    • Health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in a close setting should wear a mask.
  • Stay updated on Travel Health Notices from the CDC to avoid nonessential travel.
  • Beware of scammers. There are no specific treatments or vaccinations for the coronavirus at this time.  

Recommendations for Businesses, Schools and Community-Based Organizations:

Resources for Businesses and Employers
COVID-19: Information for Businesses from LA County

LACDPH is also asking businesses, schools and community-based organizations to prepare plans that allow people to stay home if they are sick (even mildly) without the risk of being academically or financially penalized. This includes the option to work from home or to complete assignments remotely, where possible. LACDPH is requesting organizations do the following:

  • Make sure you are using a robust, regular cleaning and disinfection schedule for frequently touched surfaces
  • Ensure that your continuity of operations (COOP) plans are up to date, so their essential functions can continue
  • Not require a doctor’s note for staff returning to work after being sick, when possible. This will reduce the strain on the healthcare system. These actions will go a long way to protect individuals and healthcare services that may be affected once novel coronavirus begins to spread more widely.

Background on coronavirus:

The coronavirus was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On Feb. 11, 2020, the World Health Organization named the disease coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and are common in animals including camels, cattle, cats and bats. They are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted between animals and people. Rarely, these animal coronaviruses can evolve into a new human coronavirus and infect people and then spread from person-to-person such as with MERS and SARS. Officials in China report that the novel coronavirus is spreading person-to-person.

  • Common signs of infection: Respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • In severe cases: pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death

How is it spread?

  • Through coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching, shaking hands or caring for an infected person
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

There is no specific treatment for illness caused by the novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment will be based on the patient's condition. There is no vaccine for novel coronavirus.

For more information on COVID-19, visit:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
California Department of Public Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
World Health Organization