Prevention

No – that would be discrimination.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:35

Anyone who is in close contact or thinks they have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 should get tested as soon as possible.

 

For those who will be sharing the same household and are able to quarantine at home, the Public Health staff will give advice on how to stay safe and how long to stay home. 

 

Once someone is recovered, if the rest of the household contacts are negative, it is safe for the person to return home and/or resume normal household activities.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:34

Individuals without symptoms who get a positive test result will need to isolate for 14 days. It takes at least 14 days of isolation and 72 hours without symptoms to be considered recovered.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:32

We recommend leaving your children at home in the care of another adult. If you have no other option, you are welcome to bring your child.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:24

Even people without symptoms can have COVID-19 and give it to others. It’s important to get tested to help protect the people who you live, work, and interact with so they don’t get the virus. For adults over 65 and people with certain health conditions, being exposed to COVID-19 could be deadly. Testing is one of the best ways to protect our community and our loved ones from getting sick or dying from COVID-19.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:21

Marin Public Health's team of "contact investigators" play a crucial role in the COVID-19 response. This practice is commonly referred to as contact tracing.

When a person tests positive for COVID-19, the team calls the person to gather a list of close contacts who are at high risk of exposure. Everyone on that list is then contacted to arrange for testing and quarantine in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.  While these close contacts are awaiting test results, they are commonly referred to as a Person Under Investigation (PUI).

In addition to gathering a list of close contacts, the contact investigation team evaluates symptoms and provides education regarding quarantine and/or isolation for COVID-19 infected persons, PUIs and any members of their households.

Here is some additional information from Marin's Public Health Officer about how contact tracing works and why it is important.

Last Updated 05/23/2020 - 13:31

When a COVID-19 case is confirmed, our Public Health team conducts a contact investigation (also known as contact tracing), which focuses on identifying, testing and isolating people with high or medium risk of infection from a confirmed case. The contact investigation will review the places and people the confirmed cases may have come into contact with during the time the case would have been infectious. Any people or places believed to be high or medium risk will then be contacted to proceed with testing and isolation.

Below is a table from the CDC, clarifying the types of exposure that might lead to infection. Most importantly, the CDC clarifies brief encounters in the community do not carry significant risk.

Risk Level Exposures Identified Through Contact Investigation
No Identifiable Risk Interactions with a person who has symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 that do not meet any of the high-, medium-, or low-risk conditions below, such as walking by the person or being briefly in the same room.
Low Risk Being in the same indoor environment (e.g., classroom, a hospital waiting room) as a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, but not meeting the definition of closed contact
Medium Risk
  • Close contact with a person laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19
  • On an aircraft, being seated within 6 feet of a traveler with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection (approximately two seats in any direction)
  • Living in the same household as, and intimate partner of, or caring for a person in a non-healthcare setting (such as a home) to a person with symptomatic-laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection while consistently using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation
High Risk Living in the same household as, being an intimate partner of, or providing care in a nonhealthcare setting (such as a home) for a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection without using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation

If believe you have experienced a high or medium risk exposure to someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine yourself in your home and contact your healthcare provider.  If you do not have a healthcare provider, call (415) 473-7191.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

(Table source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

Last Updated 05/23/2020 - 13:20

Face coverings that can be reused (e.g., bandana, washable cloth masks) should be washed with hot water and dried before reusing again.  We actually encourage the use of washable masks because hospital grade masks are difficult to obtain because they are in high demand. Remember to wash your hands after handling any used face coverings that have not yet been washed. 

If you choose to use one-time use face coverings (e.g., surgical masks), those should be disposed in a garbage receptacle.  This would include any gloves you choose to wear.  Remember to wash your hands after removing your gloves.

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:18

Governmental entities are strongly encouraged to complete Site-Specific Protection Plans for each of their facilities that remain open for any essential governmental functions, though the Order does not require them to do so. Just as with private businesses, Site-Specific Protection Plans assist governments in implementing risk reduction measures identified by the Health Officer, ensure that government agency staff and community members accessing government services are protected, and inform government employees and members of the public visiting the facilities about their respective responsibilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Each department or agency continuing to perform essential governmental functions at the workplace is encouraged to complete and implement a Site-Specific Protection Plan for its facilities and post the plan where it is publicly visible.

Last Updated 05/18/2020 - 15:19

The risk of infection from delivered foods and items is low but there are things you can do to lessen the risk:

  • Have no contact deliveries where items are left outside your home rather than handed to you directly.
  • Use gloves to unpack. Dispose of packaging immediately in the trash or recycle bin before taking off gloves.

For non-perishable items, leave them in the garage or other out of the way area until you need them.

Last Updated 04/10/2020 - 21:23

You should wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds using soap and water.  An easy way to “time” your hand washing is to sing the “happy birthday song twice.

This video is a good illustration of the proper handwashing technique.

Source:  CDC, David Gravelle

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:11

Most grocery stores are cleaning carts and other items/areas in the store but you should also take precautions.  It is fine to wipe down shopping carts but be sure to read and follow the instructions of the product you are using – some require up to 4 minutes on a surface to kill viruses.  The most important thing that you can do is do not touch your face and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you return from shopping.

Additional helpful hints for safe grocery shopping include:

  • Think through if you really need to…are the items on your list nice to have or need to have?
  • If you do need to go, go when there will likely be the least number of people in the store. 
  • If you are a senior citizen or have health issues, check with your store – they may have special hours for you when the fewest number of people will be there
  • Make a list and plan your route so you are not walking back and forth, and you limit the time you are there

 

Source: CDC, Sunset Magazine

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:12

It is important to clean and disinfection your home frequently: 

  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces you touch. Disinfect household surfaces every day. These surfaces include counters, toilets, TV remotes, phones, doorknobs, etc. To properly clean:
  • Use EPA approved disinfectant: This chart lists all approved disinfectants that kill the COVID-19 virus.

If you do not have an EPA approved disinfectant, you can use a solution of 1/3 cup household bleach to one gallon of water. Leave the solution on the surface for five minutes to disinfect properly.

Carefully follow cleaning instructions: The amount of time a disinfectant should stay on a surface will depend on the product.  The time can vary from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.  Read the instructions on the container to know how to properly kill the virus that causes COVID-19.

Clean dirty surfaces with detergent or soap and water before disinfecting them.

Use precautions when washing soft surfaces:  

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling potentially infected laundry.  If disposable gloves are not available, disinfect the outside of reusable gloves before removing them.
  • Do not shake laundry before putting in the washing machine to avoid dispersing any virus into the air.
  • Use the warmest water setting possible (based on the manufacturer's care instructions). Thoroughly dry all clothing.
  • Clean and disinfect clothing hampers the same way you would clean and disinfect other hard surfaces.
  • It is OK to wash clothes/sheets from the isolation area with other clothes/sheets but keep isolation area laundry separate until you plan to do laundry.

Sources: Marin HHS, CDC, EPA

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:13

ISOLATION separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick:

  • COVID-19 positive people must isolate

QUARANTINE separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms:

  • Close contacts of COVID-19 positive people must quarantine
Last Updated 05/22/2020 - 12:31

In epidemiology, the curve refers to the projected number of new cases over a period of time.

 

In contrast to a steep rise of coronavirus infections, a more gradual uptick of cases will see the same number of people get infected, but without overburdening the health-care system at any one time.

 

The idea of flattening the curve is to stagger the number of new cases over a longer period so that people have better access to care.

 

20200319 Flattening the curve

 

Source:  CDC, New York Times

Last Updated 04/10/2020 - 21:14

You can do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Staying home, leaving as infrequently as possible and only for approved activities
  • Practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a face cover when around others
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

 

Source: Marin HHS, CDC

Last Updated 04/10/2020 - 21:13

If you feel sick, even after a negative test result, you should take precautions, including isolating yourself in order to protect others.

 

CDC expects that widespread U.S. transmission of COVID-19. In the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus. You should continue to practice all the protective measures recommended to keep yourself and others free from illness. See “How to Protect Yourself” on the CDC website.

Last Updated 04/10/2020 - 21:11

Yes. Your personal information will not be not shared.

Test results are only shared with the referring healthcare provider and Marin Public Health. 

Marin Public Health does not release any identifying information about individuals.  The only information publicly reported is age range, race and gender.  That information is shared on Marin's Coronavirus Data Page in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:20

While not common, sometimes a person can get a false negative test result. This could be for a number of reasons including that the person was infected very shortly before the test so there was not enough of a viral load the body to trigger a positive result.

If you continue feeling sick or develop symptoms after the test you should isolate yourself and contact your healthcare provider.

For detailed guidance see Post-Test Isolation Guidance

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:18

A nurse from Marin County Public Health will contact you and give you instructions on how to protect yourself and your family or anyone else in your household.

If you test positive, even if you do not feel sick, you should immediately isolate yourself in a room of your home away from anyone else you live with. 

Follow your healthcare provider’s advice and take all hygiene and disinfectant precautions to prevent anyone else from getting sick.  See the Quarantine and Isolation guidance for details.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/26/2020 - 10:32

It currently takes 2-5 business days to get the results from a COVID-19 test.  Depending on your testing location, a Marin County Public Health Nurse or your doctor will call you with your test results. 

While you are waiting on your results, you must self-quarantine:

  • Do not leave your home:  Except for a medical emergency, you should not leave your home.  A household member or friend should handle any outside activities that are allowed under the shelter-in-place order, such as grocery shopping.
  • Quarantine yourself to a small space in your home: If possible, designate a room and bathroom that only you will use until you know your test results.  The smaller the area, the easier it will be to disinfect it properly.

For detailed guidance see Post-Test Isolation Guidance.

If you test positive, a Marin County Public Health representative will contact you to conduct a contact tracing investigation.  This investigation identifies any close contacts who are at high risk of exposure and will need to isolate from others and be tested for COVID-19.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:20

If you know you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 you should quarantine yourself in your home and contact your healthcare provider.  If you do not have a healthcare provider, call (415) 473-7191.

Even if your healthcare provider decides you do not need to be tested, you should remain quarantined until 15 days after your exposure to make sure you do not develop symptoms.

Source: Marin HHS

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 15:05

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.

Here is some information that might help in making decisions about seeking care or testing.

  • Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus.
  • Testing results may be helpful to inform decision-making about who you come in contact with.

Decisions about testing are based on a variety of factors including risk factors for serious illness, age, occupation, local epidemiology, and where the person is in their illness.

Clinicians should work with Marin HHS to coordinate testing through public health laboratories, or work with clinical or commercial laboratories. All test results should be reported back to Marin HHS.

Visit CDC’s COVID-19 Testing Guidance for more information.  Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Source:  Marin HHS, CDC

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:20

Yes. Be extremely cautious when providing care to vulnerable people and ensure that you protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue, wearing a face covering, as recommended in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 guidance, except if a face covering is not recommended (e.g., for children 12 and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and stay home if you are sick.

Last Updated 04/29/2020 - 16:29

Sheltering in place is a more rigorous form of social distancing. 

Sheltering in place means you: 

  • Must stay at home
  • Can only leave your home for “essential activities,” “outdoor activities” or “additional activities,” to work for an “essential business,” “outdoor business” or “additional business” to provide or access “essential governmental functions,” to perform “minimum basic operations” for your employer, or for “essential travel,” as those terms are defined in the new Order (you can also see the FAQs for details)
  • Cannot host or attend any gatherings

In addition, you should also maintain at least 6 feet of separation from other people who are not in your household; wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or use hand sanitizer); cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve (not into your hands); wear a face covering when out in public, as required in the Health Officer’s April 17, 2020 Order; and stay home if you are sick.

Last Updated 05/18/2020 - 14:24

The term “shelter in place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless necessary for one of the exceptions listed in the Order.

Last Updated 04/29/2020 - 13:37

Marin County Public Health is reports test results based on laboratory reporting to the state. On March 24, Bay Area public health officers issued an order that requires commercial labs to report all results (positive and negative). But we are still seeing lags in reporting, which makes it difficult for public health officials to provide an accurate testing picture for Marin.

You can view current test results on our data page.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Source: Marin HHS

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:21

Home service workers can keep providing services in homes if they are essential to health, safety, sanitation, or the necessary operation of the home. This includes plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other services needed to maintain a safe and sanitary home. Home construction and repair work is also allowed, as is home-based care for children, adults, seniors, and pets.  

Last Updated 04/29/2020 - 19:05

Social distancing is the same thing as physical distancing, which is a practice recommended by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of contagious diseases. It requires the creation of physical space between individuals who may spread certain infectious diseases. The key is to minimize the number of gatherings as much as possible and to achieve space between individuals when events or activities cannot be modified, postponed, or canceled. Achieving space between individuals of approximately six feet (or more) is advisable.

Social distancing is recommended because the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). If you are leaving your home, you should practice physical distancing to protect youself from COVID-19.

Last Updated 04/11/2020 - 09:50

Testing starts with your medical provider. Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should immediately call their medical provider and seek testing.

Your medical provider will want to test for possible conditions such as flu, strep, or pneumonia. If your doctor believes you are a candidate for testing, they will refer you to either Marin Public Health or a suitable test center to conduct the testing.

Marin County Public Health also recommends testing for some groups, even if they do not have symptoms, including:

  • All persons who were notified that they were exposed to someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19; and
  • All persons who were notified by Marin Public Health as being high risk based on outbreak investigations; and
  • All essential public and private sector workers (cities and town workers included); and
  • Certain occupations with higher risk of exposures, including some healthcare workers and first responders. Testing for these individuals is arranged through their employer.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:22

The State of California has joined with County of Marin and OptumServe to expand testing for underserved communities.  A dedicated testing site is available in San Rafael by appointment only.  Make an appointment at https://lhi.care/covidtesting. If you do not have internet access, call: 1-888-634-1123. This site is open to uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals. If you have medical insurance, OptumServe will bill your insurance company. Tests for uninsured individuals will be paid for by the state. 

The majority of people will have mild illness that is best treated at home.  However, those with serious illness will be treated regardless of insurance status.  Advisors will work with uninsured patients to find the best options for coverage.

Some resources for uninsured people include:

Source: Marin HHS, State of California

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 15:16

If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should contact your medical provider to discuss whether you are a candidate for testing.

There are multiple testing options county-wide. If you are not able to obtain testing through your medical provider, free confidential testing is available in Marin and the Bay Area. Search for your nearest testing location by zipcode.

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 15:18

As defined by the CDC, a Person Under Investigation (PUI) is any person currently under investigation for having the virus that causes COVID-19. A Person Under Investigation should be directed to COVID testing and quarantine under the guidance of their health care professional or Marin Public Health.

Source:  CDC, Marin HHS

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:44

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms, you may discontinue isolation if the following conditions are met:

  • at least 3 days (72 hrs.) have passed without fever (without the use of fever-reducing meds) AND
  • improvement in respiratory symptoms (like cough, shortness of breath) AND
  • at least 7 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared

If you have no symptoms but are COVID-19 positive, you may discontinue isolation once 7 days have passed since the date of your first positive test, if you remain symptom-free. After the 7 days have passed, you should stay 6 feet away from others and wear a face mask for an additional 3 days.

Please read Marin County’s At Home Quarantine & Isolation Safety guidance document for important information and practical tips.

Source: Marin HHS

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:47

Follow the guidance of your doctor which may be specific to your individual health needs. In general, if you have symptoms, stay at home for at least 7 days after your symptoms have resolved.

Source: Marin HHS

Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:54

Pay close attention to your own symptoms and those you are living with. If you become symptomatic, contact your medical provider by phone. Continue to practice social distancing and good personal hand hygiene.

 

Source:  Marin HHS

Last Updated 04/10/2020 - 21:01
Our current data indicate that the virus is widespread in the county and, therefore, everyone in the county has a risk of exposure to the virus regardless of where in the county they live. Every hospital in the county is caring for patients who have COVID-19. Providing information on individual cases, therefore, does not provide any benefit to the public, and may instead mislead those not living in a neighborhood with many confirmed cases to falsely think that they are at lower risk.
Last Updated 05/08/2020 - 14:53

An emergency was declared in order to ensure Marin is best prepared to address this global outbreak. Marin County Public Health is working with elected officials, other city agencies, the public and private health care system, schools, businesses and community organizations to ensure that we as a county are well informed and able to respond and mitigate the harm of the new virus.  The proclamation reinforces that this is not business as usual. We must be confident that our local response efforts are as robust as possible to protect the health of Marin residents. This declaration gives us more tools to better respond.

Last Updated 04/10/2020 - 21:26

Most healthcare providers offer testing to patients who meet testing criteria. Anyone needing testing can start by reaching out to their primary care provider.

Marin Public Health has issued new guidance to all healthcare providers expanding the criteria for testing for the virus.

Find a Testing Location

There are multiple testing options county-wide. If you are not able to obtain testing through your medical provider, free confidential testing is available in Marin and the Bay Area. Search for your nearest testing location by zipcode.

Testing for Underserved Communities

The State of California has joined with County of Marin and OptumServe to expand testing for underserved communities.  A dedicated testing site is available in San Rafael by appointment only.  Make an appointment at https://lhi.care/covidtesting. If you do not have internet access, call: 1-888-634-1123. This site is open to uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals. If you have medical insurance, OptumServe will bill your insurance company. Tests for uninsured individuals will be paid for by the state. 

 

Patients who are tested must self-quarantine pending results of their test. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, Marin County Public Health will instruct close contacts (typically household) to remain at home for 14 days after their last exposure.  Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for at least 10 minutes or having direct contact with infectious COVID-19 secretions.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:27

Yes. Marin County Public Health is actively investigating both confirmed COVID-19 cases and related cases of interest.  The latest investigation and test data can be found on the surveillance section of this website: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/surveillance

More laboratories in both the public and private sector are gaining the ability to perform COVID-19 testing. While this increases testing capacity, it presents challenges to make sure results are known to Public Health authorities to track incidence of disease and perform investigations of cases.  A public health order mandating private laboratories report all COVID-19 testing data to Marin County Public Health was issued on March 24, which will allow more accurate tracking of the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing and contact tracing (case investigation) in Marin County by visiting our Testing Information webpage.

Last Updated 05/19/2020 - 09:25