Coronavirus FAQ

  • What activities are allowed under the shelter-in-place order? +

    You may go out to perform “Essential Activities,” according to the county public health order. These are outlined in Section 13 of the order. They include things like going to the hospital, getting food, engaging in outdoor exercise and caring for a loved one.

  • Where can I get tested if I am having symptoms? +

    If you are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can recommend that you get tested for COVID-19 if there is a need.  

    Please call your healthcare provider in advance if you are experiencing symptoms so that the proper safety precautions can be taken. You can access a list of local community clinics here.

  • What procedures are in place to protect health care workers? +

    According to Sonoma County Public Information Officer, Rohish Lal,  the Department of Health Services has been communicating with its health care coalition about healthcare worker safety and other concerns on a weekly basis since January.  The coalition includes local hospitals, providers and other healthcare facilities. The Sonoma County Department of Health Services shared guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on protecting healthcare workers with the coalition. 

  • Who makes the decision to close schools? +

    According to the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), each school district consults with the local public health office when making the decision to close schools.

    Each district will work with the Sonoma County Department of Health Services to determine how long schools will close for.

    For up to date information on school closures, distance learning options and free and reduced-price lunch visit SCOE's frequently asked questions webpage.  

  • How many people have been tested so far? +

    You can keep track of how many people have been tested, and how many of those tests have come back positive or negative, on the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard. You can also see the current test count “at a glance” here.
  • Where can people find the list of exempt/essential or non-essential businesses? +

    See item 13f in the county’s shelter-in-place order for the full list of “essential businesses.”
  • How are homeless people being considered in the shelter-in-place order? +

    The public health order makes several considerations for those experiencing homelessness, including exempting them from sheltering in place at a residence, but they are “strongly urged to obtain shelter, and governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make such shelter available as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable (and to utilize Social Distancing and Hygiene Requirements in their operation).” Find more details in the text of the order.

  • What measures should someone working in an essential business take to protect themselves when dealing with the public? +

    The Sonoma County public health order requires all Essential Businesses to prepare and post by no later than 11:59 p.m. on April 2, 2020, a “Social Distancing Protocol” for each of their facilities in the County frequented by the public or employees. Find details about what the protocol must explain in item 13h of the order.

  • How should people sanitize food from the store like vegetables? +

    There are different recommendations for different types of surfaces. For produce, just use warm water. For hard surfaces like cans, use soap and water or household disinfectants.
  • What specific measures will the county take to protect seniors? Will there be service to seniors to get them supplies and help if needed? +

    Sonoma County resources for seniors and other vulnerable populations can be found here.
  • What are government options to help people whose incomes decrease and cannot make rent, mortgages, bills, etc. +

    Local, state and federal governments are responding to help affected people. Here are some resources for Sonoma County residents struggling financially due to the crisis.
  • What are the best precautions for high-risk people to take? +

    Stay home. Wash your hands often. Avoid close contact (6 feet, which is about two arm lengths) with people who are sick. Clean and disinfect frequently touched services. Avoid all cruise travel and non-essential air travel. Call your healthcare professional if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying condition or if you are sick. Find more information from the CDC.

  • How does it spread? +

    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).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
  • What information is out about when Santa Rosa Junior College will reopen or move online? +

    SRJC is operating remotely through the end of the spring semester, Saturday, May 23, and possibly beyond. More information can be found on the school website.
  • What exactly are the symptoms that should make us call our doctor? +

    If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Call your doctor before you seek medical care. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.
  • What specific pre-existing conditions put people especially at risk? +

    Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID-19. This includes people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; people who have serious heart conditions; people who are immunocompromised; people with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher); people with diabetes; people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; and people with liver disease.

  • Is there any caution against traveling by air domestically? +

    As of March 28, the CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. The CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection. There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel.

  • What is the proper way to wash your hands? +

    The CDC says to:

    1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
  • What recommendations are there for breastfeeding moms and pregnant women who may have COVID-19? +

    Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread. In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know for sure whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk. Find guidance from the CDC for pregnant and breastfeeding women here.
  • What social distancing is recommended? How far apart should people stand? +

    Stay 6 feet or more away from others and do not attend or participate in public or private gatherings.
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